Letters: Deserting ethanol would be a huge mistake

Source: By Geoff Cooper, RFA • Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2022

Why in the world would the Register’s editorial board suggest that Iowans should abandon an ethanol industry that supports 48,000 jobs in the state, pumps $2.4 billion into Iowa household income, generates $5 billion in GDP, and reduces both pump prices and tailpipe emissions for Hawkeye State drivers? Should Iowa throw its largest-in-the-nation ethanol industry under the bus simply because someone has convinced the Register that electric vehicles are “the next big thing”?

Rather than asking “what comes after ethanol,” Iowans should be asking “what comes next for ethanol?” We have an incredibly bright future. According to the Department of Energy, Harvard University, MIT, and others, ethanol already reduces greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% compared to gasoline and is on a trajectory to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. That means Iowa, where EVs account for less than 1% of the cars on the road, can remain at the forefront of our nation’s quest for lower-cost clean fuels while continuing to support the farm economy.

Deserting ethanol would be an enormous and unforgivable mistake for Iowa’s economy and environment. Rather than boarding up the state’s 42 ethanol plants, trashing land values for Iowa’s farmers, and letting the ragweed and cockleburs take over, Iowa should continue to embrace its leadership role in driving the low-carbon ethanol industry forward.

— Geoff Cooper, president and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association