A new study released today concludes that increasing the blend of ethanol in the U.S. gasoline supply from 10 to 15 percent could boost job creation and economic growth.
The study was commissioned by Growth Energy and conducted by researchers from North Dakota State University (NDSU). Nancy Hodur, NDSU researcher with the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, says there would be substantial economic and employment impacts associated with the expansion of the ethanol industry if the blend rate were increased.
“We estimated that annual direct economic impacts would be $9.6 billion and the total direct and secondary impacts would be $24.4 billion and that level of economic activity would support 136,000 jobs,” said Hodur. Those impacts were based on the multiplier effect of adding another 60 ethanol plants nationwide.
Former Congressman and Growth Energy board member Jim Nussle says the study supports the economic need to increase the ethanol blend level, which he says was arbitrarily set 30 years ago at ten percent. “These figures really are dramatic and they prove that when we want we can create these desperately needed jobs,” said Nussle. “The federal government can act right now to increase the amount of ethanol blends in the nation’s fuel supply without having to dip into another stimulus package or create another bill.”
Nussle says the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to increase the blend level through the rule-making process and while it could theoretically be done quickly the former congressman refused to speculate on how long it might take EPA to take such an action.
Listen to the Growth Energy press conference announcing the study here: [audio:http://www.zimmcomm.biz/growth-energy/3-4-09-GE-presser.mp3]