Ag Chairman Observes Rising Role for Ethanol

Jun 12, 2001

Ag Chairman Observes Rising Role for Ethanol

(June 12, 2001)

U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) observed that Tuesday's EPA announcement holding California to clean-burning gasoline standards elevates ethanol as the clean, renewable, American-grown choice for a comprehensive energy plan.

Tuesday morning, EPA announced that it would not approve the State of California's request to ignore the Clean Air Act's federal oxygen content requirement for reformulated gasoline (RFG). Rather than seeking use of another oxygenated additive such as ethanol – produced from corn – state officials sought a waiver from Clean Air rules by dropping the use of all oxygenates, after abandoning MTBE

Ethanol now becomes the alternative oxygen additive of choice for states now abandoning the petroleum-derivative MTBE.

"Ethanol becomes the American-grown, renewable resource for the comprehensive fuel mix called for by the president's energy plan," said Chairman Combest.

Demand for ethanol in California will be approximately 580 million gallons annually, with about 230 million bushels of corn necessary to produce the ethanol needed by California motorists, according to the National Corn Growers Association. The Corn Growers project that amount of corn grind will boost corn prices by 10 to 15 cents/bushel, increasing the value of the nation's corn crop by as much as one billion dollars.

The Clean Air Act requires that reformulated gasoline (RFG) contain oxygen to reduce harmful emissions of ozone, a major component of smog. RFG is a cleaner-burning gasoline required by federal law to be used in certain major metropolitan areas of the United States with the worst ozone air pollution problems.

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