The best way to help the U.S. ethanol industry right now is to encourage the adoption of E15 by fuel retailers, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
During a telephone press conference on Tuesday promoting USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Vilsack was asked by a reporter what can be done to help the struggling ethanol sector right now.
“If you take a look at the long term history of ethanol, you’ll see that there are peaks and valleys in this commodity,” Vilsack noted. “Our focus is primarily on encouraging blenders to embrace E15. EPA has authorized the use of E15 and this obviously would be a God send.”
Vilsack added that they want blenders to register with EPA to get E15 in the market and they are looking for ways to encourage distribution. “At the same time, we’re also looking at alternative ways to produce ethanol through non-food feedstocks so we can spread the good work this industry’s doing in keeping gas prices down further than they would otherwise be.”
The secretary referenced an Iowa State University study that concluded ethanol helps save motorists up to $1.30 per gallon. “So we obviously need a robust biofuel industry,” he said.
Listen to or download Vilsack’s comments here: Secretary Vilsack on E15