Gas Prices Rise, Ethanol Saves Consumers Money

Joanna Schroeder

I’d like to take a poll to see how many people thought that gas prices would never get higher than last summer where some areas around the country nearly topped out at $5.00 a gallon and for several weeks consumers in the South couldn’t even get gas.

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Can you say deja vu? According to the Nebraska Ethanol Board, nationally gas prices have risen almost every day for the last 42 days. Several analysts expect that a return to $100 oil and $4.00 gas isn’t too far behind. Extremists predict that we could see $200 barrel of oil before the end of the year.

By now, you’d think that people would realize that ethanol helps consumers save money at the pump. Last summer, an Iowa State University study demonstrated that ethanol helped consumers save on average $500 per year.

Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, notes that Nebraska drivers have already saved over $4.5 million in 2009 by buying E10. “If all the fuel sold in Nebraska in the past five years was E85, Nebraskans would have saved $2.6 billion.”

Since energy is tied so closely to our economy many economists are speculating that this steady rise in oil prices could prolong America’s recession. At the beginning of the month, OPEC’s Abdullah al-Badri told attendees at the Global Energy Summit that the price of crude oil needed to be much higher. OPEC intends to do this through modifying production quotas and shutting down oil refineries “until the surplus is depleted”. Demand for oil and gas has dropped 2.6 million barrels per day worldwide.

As people begin to trim their budgets to offset the higher fuel prices, you’d think they would send Big Oil a message that, “we’re not going to take it”.

Nebraska Ethanol Board chair Mike Thede sums it up, “We can invest in alternative, renewable, inexpensive fuels like ethanol, or we can continue the billion-dollar giveaway to Big Oil.”

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