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July 2009

July 21, 2009

Economic Security: Consumer Driven. Ethanol Powered.

While a growing number of people are becoming clean energy advocates and many more would consider themselves an environmentalist, every person is concerned about the economic well being of their family and loved ones. Going Green? Here are your research links to help you understand how you can make more green with ethanol and enhance your economic security. 

What’s in your wallet? Consumer power!  For the first time in over 100 years consumers have  vehicle and fuel choice – if they own and FFV and use higher than 10% blends of ethanol.  Federal and state policy makers have read the national surveys and consumers/voters have been heard. The gasoline-only mandate is over – at least for the 8 million owners of FlexFuel Vehicles (FFVs).  Most drivers have no choice but to support the nation’s billion dollar a day oil addiction – but FFV owners can buy higher blends of domestically produced, clean, renewable ethanol.  Our economy can now be truly be consumer driven and ethanol powered!

What is economic security in an area of economic stimulus?  In my humble opinion, it is simply the ability to save existing jobs and create new ones. There are many added bonuses included with job creation:

  • Job creation reduces unemployment and therefore taxes

  • Job creation provides family health care without increasing taxes or federal programs,

  • Job creation improves personal savings and reduces consumer debt, all while

  • Improving the quality of family life and the environment.

Doesn’t job creation and economic stimulation make reducing our oil consumption a little more exciting and worthwhile?

Does ethanol create jobs and will increasing the production and use of other renewable fuels create new jobs? Yes.  The data is overwhelming. Even more overwhelming is the top 50 reasons to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Flexible Fuel Vehicle Club of America -- The Truth About Oil

If you still don’t think oil is a problem that impacts your personal economic security please take a few minutes to reading the following executive summary.
Between 2010 and 2030, the United States will spend as much as $30 trillion on oil, coal, and other fossil fuels - nearly four times the total earnings of all American workers in 2007 according to a new report "The High Cost of Fossil Fuels: Why America Can’t Afford to Depend on Dirty Energy" analyzing government data on energy. (Executive Summary)
I hope you enjoy the context and perspective captured in this blog about economic security from the following headlines, data, and background research. I also hope you will take a few minutes to now learn more about the positive economic impacts you can generate by using renewable energy like ethanol.  In the long run, your economic vulnerability resulting from the nation’s addiction to oil also has a direct impact on our nation’s international diplomacy (i.e., national/energy security) and our ability to protect our planet (i.e., environmental security). It is the win-win-win trifecta combination that ethanol contributes to your economic, environmental, energy/national security that excites leaders of industry and government.
The job you save may be your own.  So keep the free market truly free with vehicle and fuel choice – use your wallet to by an FFV or higher blends of ethanol like E85.
Economic Impact of Ethanol Production: This Ethanol Across America report illustrates how U.S. ethanol production facilities are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars to local, state, and federal governments through direct and indirect economic generation. "When indirect and indirect jobs are considered, along with capital spending and investment, the ethanol industry is adding more than $40 billion of gross output to the U.S. economy," said U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE).
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?  Since 9/11 and the rise in crude oil price from $25 per barrel to $70-plus, transfers of total dollars to OPEC have increased from an average of $70 billion per quarter in 2004 to an average of $280 billion per quarter in 2006.  This is an aggregate increase in the financial flow to OPEC of $2.5 trillion.  William J. Hudson, Ethanol Opinion – Beyond the Eight Grade 2007; The ProExporter Network.
Ethanol Saves American $47 billion each year at the gas pump:
Merrill Lynch head of commodities research Francisco Blanch told the Wall Street Journal, that because of biofuels, a gallon of gasoline costs 15 percent less. That means consumers are saving up to 30 cents per gallon of gasoline, assuming gas is $2.25 a gallon. The Department of Energy estimated Americans used 390 million gallons a day, or 142 billion gallons of gasoline a year, in 2008. With the cost benefit from biofuels, Americans are saving $47 billion each year at the gas pump!
According to a report by Novozymes, cellulosic ethanol is economically favorable compared to other CO2 abatement technologies in transportation. "By converting agricultural residues into fuel ethanol, China can reduce its gasoline consumption by 31 million tons in 2020, thereby reducing its dependence on imported petroleum by around 10%. By doing that China will abate about 90 million tons of CO2 emissions. Meanwhile this industry will create 6 million direct jobs, resulting in an RMB 32 billion – around USD 4.7 billion – income increase annually," says Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes.

IndustryWeek.com "One of the most promising new ventures for manufacturing and rebuilding the American middle class is clean energy," said Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden's Chief Economist and the executive director of the White House Middle Class Task Force.

"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides unprecedented investment in the clean energy sector and green-collar job training. The White House Middle Class Task Force understands that manufacturing can expand opportunities for working men and women to earn wages and benefits that support families and strengthen communities." The manufacturing sector employs nearly 13 million Americans. Long considered the ticket to the middle class for workers without college degrees, these jobs are disappearing, with many being sent overseas. Since 1999, 4.6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been shed, including more than 750,000 since late last year.

New York Times: The instability of oil and gas prices is puzzling government officials and policy analysts, who fear it could jeopardize a global recovery. It is also hobbling businesses and consumers, who are already facing the effects of a stinging recession, as they try in vain to guess where prices will be a year from now — or even next month.

Are Your Savings Connected to Oil Prices? You Decide.

Personal savings graph

As Gasoline Prices Creep up, Ethanol Saves Consumers Money

Environmental & Energy Study Institute: Funding for Clean Energy Projects Can Provide Immediate Stimulus and Long-Term Economic Benefits:


Deutsche Bank Says Global "Green" Energy Stimulus Hits $200 Billion:  Governments around the world have committed more than $200 billion toward technologies to cut dependence on fossil fuels, which should help keep green development moving despite the global economic crunch, according to Mark Fulton, Deutsche Bank's global head of climate change investment research.

Apollo Alliance Launches 'Make It in America' Clean Energy Campaign:
Shoppingblog.com: Refinery problems are producing especially high prices in the Midwest, a region that was already reeling from the economic crisis. Michigan, the state with highest unemployment rate, at 12.9 percent, is now paying the highest gasoline prices, averaging $2.93 a gallon. The national jump in prices, far larger than the normal seasonal increase, is pulling billions of dollars from the pockets of drivers. It threatens to curtail a modest recovery in consumer spending on items like apparel and electronics.

Planet Ark:Since March, clean energy stocks have put together a mighty rally, outpacing the U.S. equities market as a whole. Three major indexes tracking green energy companies have risen sharply of late. The U.S.-only Wilderhill Clean Energy Index, comprising 51 companies, is up 72 percent since a March 9 low.

New Analyses Demonstrate How America Can Create 1.7 Million Green Jobs and Opportunities for Low-Income Families:

The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy: How the Economic Stimulus Program and New Legislation Can Boost U.S. Economic Growth and Employment

ABC NEWS: The fledgling renewable energy industry has grown steadily over much of the past decade, adding jobs at more than twice the national rate, according to a Pew Charitable Trust study…..Pew counted 22,674 clean energy jobs in Michigan in 2007. To put that into perspective, Michigan lost 38,400 jobs in April alone.

Can you believe forty years after our nation landed on the moon, critics are still debating the technological merits of producing renewable ethanol to enhance our national economic, environmental, and energy security?

What’s in your wallet? Choice.  Put some higher blends of ethanol your FFV and celebrate your economic freedom.