U.S.Repr.Marion Berry, D-Ark., has observed that the announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holding California to clean-burning gasoline standards makes ethanol the clean, renewable, American-grown choice for a comprehensive energy plan.

“Ethanol becomes the American-grown, renewable resource for the comprehensive fuel mix called for by the president's energy plan,” Berry said. “And that is good news for corn producers.”

The EPA this month announced it would not approve California's request to ignore the Clean Air Act's federal oxygen content requirement for reformulated gasoline (RFG). Rather than seek use of another oxygenated additive such as ethanol — produced from corn — state officials sought a waiver from Clean Air Act rules to drop the use of all oxygenates, after abandoning MTBE.

Ethanol now becomes the alternative oxygen additive of choice for states abandoning the petroleum-derivative MTBE.

Demand for ethanol in California will be approximately 580 million gallons annually, with about 230 million bushels of corn necessary to meet the demand, according to the National Corn Growers Association. The Corn Growers project that amount of corn grind will boost corn prices by 10-15 cents/bushel, increasing the value of the nation's corn crop by as much as one billion dollars.

The Clean Air Act requires that reformulated gasoline (RFG) contain oxygen to reduce harmful emissions of ozone, a major component of smog. RFG is a cleaner-burning gasoline required by federal law to be used in certain major metropolitan areas of the United States.