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Iowa Delegation Asks Biden Administration to Grow Ethanol, Biodiesel Production in Response to Rising Gas Prices

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The Iowa delegation has asked EPA Administrator Michael Regan to help expand the production of biofuels in response to rising gasoline prices. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- As oil and gas prices continue to rise as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a group of U.S. senators and representatives from Iowa are pressing EPA Administrator Michael Regan to create policies to spark expanded production of ethanol and biodiesel, in a letter sent to Regan on Tuesday.

According to AAA, the average cost of a regular gallon of gas hit a record-high $4.17. The previous record high of $4.11 was set on July 17, 2008.

It was reported on Tuesday that the Biden administration is set to ban oil imports from Russia, in response to the invasion, raising concerns the price of oil would continue to rise in response.

The current wholesale cost of ethanol is $2.56 per gallon. With a renewable identification number, or RIN, value of $1.09, that places the cost of an ethanol gallon at $1.47. The wholesale cost of a gallons of gasoline without ethanol is about $3.58, meaning ethanol is about $2 cheaper.

In a letter to Regan on Tuesday, Reps. Randy Feenstra, Ashley Hinson, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Cynthia Axne, and Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst ask Regan to help the U.S. lessen its dependence on Russian oil.

"In light of geopolitical tension and economic uncertainty in today's global environment, the availability of affordable and reliable energy has become a topic of concern for many people across the world," the letter said.

Russia is the world's third-largest producer of petroleum and other liquid fuels, churning out an average of 10.5 million barrels per day in 2020.

"The United States and our allies across the globe are now looking to decrease our reliance on Russian oil," the members of congress said.

"As conflict continues in the region, we urge the Biden administration to expand the production and potential export of domestic ethanol and biodiesel to meet global energy needs. As a domestically produced, renewable fuel source, ethanol and other biofuels strengthen our national security and achieves the administration's climate goals.

"Bolstering our domestic energy production through policies that prioritize the increased use of American's ethanol and other biofuels will ensure a reliable and stable source of energy for years to come.

"The implementation of such policies will also enable the administration to reach its reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Further, allowing our allies to substitute Russian oil with ethanol will further reduce global emissions. According to recent research, corn-based ethanol is 46% less carbon intensive than petroleum-based gasoline. The untapped capacity couple with environmental benefits allow this renewable fuel source to be a readily available solution for energy independence for us and our allies.

"On March 1, 2022, President Biden authorized the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In this announcement, Secretary of Energy Granholm stated that 'investing in clean energy is the best way to reduce domestic and international dependence on Russian oil and gas.'

"As the administration addresses the significant market and supply disruptions related to President Putin's war on Ukraine, we urge you to consider policies that encourage the production of domestic renewable fuels."

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