Renewable Fuels Are Better for Our Environment

Renewable Fuels Month LogoPart Three of a Four-Part Series for Renewable Fuels Month

Lincoln, Nebraska— Nebraska’s air is more dangerous than it looks thanks to toxic cancer-causing particles that enter our lungs and bloodstream when we put fuel in our vehicles. The good news is that we have a sustainable, home-grown renewable solution: biofuels.

When consumers pull up to the pump, they may believe they are just filling their tank with fuel—what most don’t realize, however, is that they are also filling the air with dangerous toxics that threaten our health. Oil companies have added a deadly combination of toxic carcinogens known as BTX (benzene, toluene, xylene) to our fuel to enhance octane. Similar to the now banned octane boosters, lead and MTBE, which oil companies used in the past, the health threats of BTX are growing with every research study. These carcinogens do not completely combust in the engine, and as a result, ultrafine toxic particles leave the tailpipe and enter the air we breathe. These particles are linked to serious health problems such as asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.

Fortunately, Nebraska farmers produce a sustainable, renewable solution that is not only non-toxic, but also a clean burning source of octane. Renewable-biofuels, made from corn and soybeans that are produced right here in Nebraska, burn cleaner and improve air quality compared to conventional fuels. When drivers use American Ethanol and biodiesel, they’re improving air quality and reducing serious health problems not only for themselves, but also their children and grandchildren. These renewable fuels lower the level of toxic, cancer-causing emissions in vehicle exhaust—reducing air pollution, improving human health, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards have been a hot topic over the last few years, which is good news for renewable fuels such as American Ethanol and biodiesel. The ethanol industry is producing fuel that is up to 59% lower in GHG emissions than regular gasoline. While biodiesel reduces lifecycle GHG emissions by up to 86% compared to regular diesel fuel.

“It’s easy to see that home-grown corn and soybeans have a positive impact on our environment, especially when it comes to using them in our vehicles,” said Dennis Gengenbach, farmer from Smithfield, Nebraska and vice chair on the Nebraska Corn Board and vice chair of the National Corn Growers’ Ethanol Committee. “The more we learn about the dangerous effects the exhaust from petroleum has on the environment and our health, the more we need to encourage the use of clean-burning fuels such as American Ethanol and biodiesel.”

Many consumers are beginning to change their purchasing decisions as they realize the clear-cut benefits of using renewable-biofuels. As a result, automotive manufacturers have recognized the growth in this demand, and have brought several new models of fuel efficient diesel vehicles to the market in recent years. They have also made flex fuel vehicles, which can operate on any blend on American Ethanol and gasoline up to E85, abundant for consumers to purchase.

Everyone can make the individual choice to make our air cleaner and healthier. By making the simple decision to fuel up with American Ethanol or biodiesel, consumers can make a very big difference in our air quality and for the health of our families.

The Nebraska Corn Board is funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/2 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research, promotion and education.

The nine-member Nebraska Soybean Board collects and disburses the Nebraska share of funds generated by the one half of one percent times the net sales price per bushel of soybeans sold. Nebraska soybean checkoff funds are invested in research, education, domestic and foreign markets, including new uses for soybeans and soybean products.

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Editor note: Throughout September, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board will be releasing a news release weekly to discuss renewable fuels. All releases will be available on www.NebraskaCorn.org.

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