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The Mess in the Gulf

The Economic Advantages of American Biofuels

"Biofuel is a way to keep our dollars here in the United States" – Brent Bailey, SE Coordinator, 25x25, Canton MS

There are significant economic advantages for the production and use of biofuels to replace petroleum products. The most obvious of these advantages is that biofuels are made from American crops and produced in American facilities. American farmers grow the crops, American truckers and rail operators move the feedstock to the production facilities. American chemical workers process the feedstock into biofuels whichare then delivered using an American transport system of pipelines, trucks and railroads. The entire operation is American from start to finish. 

Then there are the national benefits of domestic biofuels production. American farmers can produce a crop that has a stable market value. That product is not dependent upon foreign markets to establish price. Biofuels feedstock production will not alter the land use already in agricultural production. 

We will expand jobs for American truck drivers, railway workers, boilermakers, steamfitters and chemical workers among other trades and professions. Once-shuttered American manufacturing facilities will breathe with new life as biofuels production generates demand for new industrial products. 

Our dependence on oil drives foreign policy. Biofuels will increase national security as we become less and less dependent on foreign oil. Our suppliers can literally turn off the tap at whim— they have done it before, back in 1973. Then, we lost only about five percent of our needs. Today, if all foreign suppliers turned off the tap we would lose about 62 percent of our oil needs (46 percent of which comes from OPEC countries). 

What could that same scenario do to America today?

“It’s very good for keeping the energy dollar in the local community” – Donald Rockwood, President, Florida Fast Growing Trees, Gainesville, FL

As a petroleum-reliant country, the global price of oil affects virtually every aspect of our economy. Our markets are susceptible to flare-ups of unrest in the Middle East, mere threats of terrorist attacks here at home, deliberate manipulation of oil prices by foreign regimes, and supply disruptions – whether due to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or economic warfare like the oil embargo of 1973.

Remember 9/11? Everything came to a standstill for months, the stock market tanked and an incredible amount of wealth was lost forever.  The United States entered a War on Terror that has been estimated to have cost Americans over $600 billion so far.

In 2008, the United States imported 4.7 billion barrels of foreign oil. At an average price of $99.57 per barrel, that means Americans spent $468 billion on foreign oil – well over a billion dollars per day. (source: U.S. Energy Information Administration) And, imported oil is the largest contributor to America's annual trade imbalance.

“We can rely on the reliable workforce that’s here in the United States.” – Heath Fleming, Fleming Mortgage Services, Ocala, FL

Think of the benefit to American businesses if that amount was spent on goods within the United States, instead of sending it elsewhere.

Comparatively, the Federal Government budgeted just $225 million for one year of biofuels research and development.

Why not invest in ourselves?  We need American Biofuels Now.