Study: E15 would create jobs | TSLN.com

Study: E15 would create jobs

Todd Neeley

OMAHA (DTN) – A new study from pro-ethanol group Growth Energy makes the case that bumping up the allowable ethanol blend in standard vehicles from E10 to E15 would create jobs and provide a much-needed economic injection to the national economy.

The study conducted by researchers at North Dakota State University estimated that raising the blend level to E15 would create more than 136,000 new jobs and generate more than $24 billion in annual economic activity.

The U.S. ethanol industry is drawing closer to the so-called blend wall, where the volume of ethanol produced is expected to exceed the available E10 market.

The Growth Energy study said expanding to E15 would require additional production capacity of about six billion gallons or roughly 60 100-million-gallon ethanol plants.

“This is in addition to available plant expansion capacity, plants currently under construction, and offline production capacity,” the study stated.

According to DTN’s ethanol plant list (http://www.dtnethanolcenter.com) there are 19 plants currently under construction and 36 that are not producing.

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In addition, the study said the national direct economic effects from the construction of 60 100-million-gallon plants would be about $13.3 billion, with direct construction employment of more than 12,000 workers.

Further, the study found that bumping the allowable ethanol blend to E15 would support more than 260,000 full-time secondary jobs, coming mostly from the construction of the 60 new plants. Construction would provide a one-time injection of more than $36 billion into the economy.

“Our study found there is real job creation value by increasing the ethanol blended in today’s gasoline supply,” Larry Leistritz, professor of agricultural economics at North Dakota State University, said in a statement. “While there have been many media reports about the struggling ethanol sector, there has been little discussion about the cause. Part of the industry’s challenge is this regulatory cap. Lifting the cap could provide serious benefits by putting the industry on a path for growth and generating billions of dollars in revenue for many struggling communities.”

Currently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies are studying the possible environmental, health and other effects of allowing standard vehicles to burn ethanol blends higher than E10.

In addition, current auto manufacturer warranties could be void if standard vehicles use blends higher than E10.

To read the Growth Energy study, go to http://www.growthenergy.org.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

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