Can the future of electric vehicles destroy the ethanol industry?

Source: By CBS2 • Posted: Monday, March 1, 2021

America is in the early stages of a shift from combustion engine cars and trucks to all-electric vehicles, or EV. Electric cars are quiet, sporty and cost a fraction to charge than it costs to gas up their traditional counterparts. But as more motorists reach for the plug instead of the pump, some are concerned it will hurt farmers so connected to a healthy biofuels market.

Senator Joni Ernst is not happy about President Biden’s order requiring federal agencies purchase EV instead of gas vehicles whenever possible. In a recent op-ed, Senator Ernst said: “If the entire United States moves to all-electric vehicles—like the Biden-Harris Administration wants—say goodbye to Iowa-grown biofuel and the livelihoods of the hardworking folks who labor night and day to provide these clean fuel options.”

Former Iowa Governor and newly sworn-in Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack disagrees. “I don’t see why we can’t have both and over a long period of time we’re going to need both.”

Monte Shaw, the Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says Secretary Vilsack is right. “We have an important role to play, and we need the Biden Administration to understand that and just give us a chance.” Shaw says biofuels are much cleaner than fossil fuels, making them part of the solution. “We’re not asking them to say that you have to sell X% of biofuels versus EVs, set a carbon standard and let’s see who can meet it best.”Also on board with both is State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids. He says there are clear advantages to expanding the use of biofuels when it comes to combating climate change. “Let’s leave the oil in the ground and make sure all the liquid fuels in the future come from home-grown renewable resources, and that’s a win-win for Iowa.”A win-win for Iowa, even if car makers like General Motors do what they promise, and stop making fuel vehicles by 2035.