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Thompson: Farmers can help solve nation’s fuel crisis | Opinion


No matter where you live or how long your commute, gas prices are a concern. The price spikes and fluctuations caused by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are just the latest evidence that, as a nation, we are far too dependent on foreign oil.

Fortunately, President Joe Biden and our members of Congress have taken decisive steps to lower gas prices and limit our dependence on foreign oil. They have done that by supporting biofuels — fuel grown by America’s farmers.

Not only does this lower gas prices and cut our dependence on Russian energy, supporting American biofuels provides a much-needed boost to our rural communities — putting dollars in the pockets of our farmers and supporting schools, rural hospitals and main street businesses.

Biofuels, specifically those containing ethanol, are becoming increasingly available in the U.S. You can now buy E10, or fuel containing 10% ethanol, at most gas stations. However, higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85 remain less available and more restricted despite the positive impact they have been shown to have on gas prices, greenhouse gas emissions and productivity.

Biden led the effort to boost biofuels by lifting antiquated restrictions on the sale of E15 for the summer. This emergency move increased the use of renewable biofuels and immediately helped lower gas prices across America.

We have more good news for renewable fuels. The Inflation Reduction Act makes investments in our nation’s biofuels production. This law will further lower gas prices and reduce the federal debt by more than $300 billion.

There has never been a bigger boost for American biofuels than this new law. The Inflation Reduction Act will help further lower gas prices by placing 10,000 new E15 pumps at gas stations all across America. The law also provides incentives to companies to produce more biofuels — ethanol and biodiesel for use in our cars and trucks and even in airplanes.

Year-round E15 sales and new incentives are going to super-charge U.S. agriculture with immense benefits flowing to small towns and cities throughout the Midwest.

But the benefits are not limited to farmers who grow corn or soybeans and the communities in which they live. Every American wins – lower gas prices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and less dependence on foreign oil. These are common sense plans that will make a real difference in the lives of working Americans.

Bob Thompson is the president of the Michigan Farmers Union.