Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Research Showing Significant Improvement in Efficiency of Ethanol Production and Other Trends
WASHINGTON– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a statement on two recent research reports supported by USDA focused on ethanol and other renewable fuels, one published by USDA's Office of the Chief Economist and another published by the University of Missouri:
"These research reports demonstrate, once again, that America's renewable energy industry has quickly expanded and evolved since President Obama's administration embraced an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy beginning in 2009. Since then, we have more than doubled renewable energy production, and today we import less than half our oil. Improved and expanded ethanol and biodiesel production have saved Americans money at the pump. Our national security has been bolstered because we are more energy secure and also because our nation's military is a major commercial customer for U.S. biofuels. And, as today's reports demonstrate, U.S. farmers continue to improve their efficiency in the production of corn for ethanol while the impact of ethanol production on corn production has become marginal. Between 1991 and 2010, direct energy use in corn production has dropped by 46 percent per bushel of corn produced and total energy use per bushel of corn by 35 percent. Moreover, between 2005 and 2010, direct energy use fell by 25 percent and the total energy use by 8.2 percent per bushel—meaning that between 2005 and 2010, the energy required per bushel of corn produced dropped by about 5 percent. The bottom line is, today, more energy is being produced from ethanol than is used to produce it, by factors of 2 to 1 nationally and by factors of 4 to 1 in the Midwest. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of the bio-economy and the role biofuels and advanced biofuels will play in that future, and I am confident this administration has acted aggressively to expand the groundwork to support that brighter future."