High Fuel Prices Drive Support for Ethanol

Laura McNamara

EPIC Fueling LogoAmerican motorists are rethinking their driving habits. That is, according to a new survey commissioned by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. The survey shows that consumers think skyrocketing gas prices means the nation should start moving away from oil.

The EPIC survey found 47 percent of those polled stated that a fuel price below $5 a gallon should be the point where fossil fuels are no longer our primary fuel sources. An additional 27 percent of those polled reported that the critical price point lies between $5 and $5.99. America is getting close to the break-point as Sunday, the national average of a gallon of gasoline rose to $4.005, 90 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA.

“Motorists are frustrated and angry about high gas prices. Everyone is feeling the pinch at the pump, which really underscores our need for biofuels,” said Toni Nuernberg, executive director of EPIC. “As gas prices continue to skyrocket, we must continue the push for the only current transportation energy option we have today-biofuels.”

Even in the face of heavy criticism from anti-ethanol groups and misplaced blame for rising food prices, the ethanol fuel industry continues to help keep fuel prices below the even-more exorbitant prices consumers would pay without the availability of ethanol fuel.

According to data from Iowa State University, blending gasoline with ethanol has kept fuel prices $0.29 – 0.40 lower per gallon than they would have been otherwise. In the Midwest, the savings are the greatest, with fuel prices suppressed by as much as $0.39 per gallon due to ethanol fuel blending.

The survey found that 42 percent of those polled said they were coping with rising gas prices by driving less, but 15 percent reported there was nothing they could do to cut back on the increasing expense of driving.

The survey was completed online with 1,004 respondents from April 24 through April 30, 2008.

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