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Published December 30, 2013, 09:34 AM

Ethanol industry makes region better off

It’s time to send Washington a message about ethanol.

By: Merle Anderson, Agweek

CLIMAX, Minn. — It’s time to send Washington a message about ethanol.

Recently, the federal government decided to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard, which means starting in 2014, there will be less ethanol in our nation’s fuel mix.

This change comes at a time when the U.S. has reduced its oil imports from other countries by 20 percent thanks to the RFS.

A big reason for the decision is the fact that there aren’t enough stations or markets for ethanol blends.

But we have the power to send a message about this decision and, at the same time, help stop Big Oil’s chokehold on the nation’s fueling system.

Farmers need to give some serious thought to what the ethanol industry has done for them and what it means for their future. If the opposition were to succeed, millions of acres would be used to produce a different crop. I advise farmers to think about the ramifications of what will happen to the corn market, and potentially other commodity markets, if this proposed cut of the RFS goes into effect.

I’m also asking residents to fight this effort with their pocketbooks. I urge readers to stop at one of the many stations that have blender pumps, because there they have a choice.

Blender pumps can be found at locations including the 14 Petro-Serve stations and certain Farmers Co-op, Valley Dairy, Cenex and Ampride stations around the region.

At all of them, motorists have a choice, including using more than just E10. I recommend that people try using higher blends such as E30, E50 or even E85.

True, some may warn motorists away from using higher blends, but I have run higher blends in my past seven cars and, I should mention, they were not flex-fuel vehicles. I traveled more than 600,000 miles with no problems at all.

The price breaks alone on higher blends should be enough to drive Agweek readers to use more ethanol. But if saving money isn’t enough, I ask readers to try it to help support their friends and neighbors, many of whom help support the ethanol industry in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Let’s tell those bureaucrats in Washington they are making a mistake and that we need to keep supporting the RFS and our farmers and producers by using more ethanol and higher blends.

Editor’s note: Anderson is the founder of the American Coalition for Ethanol and served as the coalition’s first president.