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Using ethanol in the U.S. fuel marketplace helps lower gasoline prices by expanding gasoline supplies and reducing the need for importing expensive, high-octane, petroleum-based gasoline components or more crude oil from unstable parts of the world like the Middle East.

FACT: If ethanol were removed from the market, the shortfall would have to be made up from expensive imports.

A recent study concluded gasoline prices would increase 14.6% in the short term (36.5 cents/gallon if gas is $2.50/gallon), and 3.7% in the long term (9.3 cents/gallon if gas is $2.50/gallon) even after refiners build new capacity or secure alternative sources of supply.
According to the Consumer Federation of America, consumers could pay as much as 8 cents per gallon less if oil companies blended ethanol rather than higher-priced petroleum products.

FACT: Today, ethanol is blended in nearly every gallon of unleaded gasoline sold in the U.S. 

FACT: In 2009, the U.S. ethanol industry increased household income by $16 billion, money that flows directly into the pockets of American consumers. Source: "Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States"

FACT: The facts surrounding the misnamed "food versus fuel" debate reveal there is no need to choose between using grain for feed and food or for fuel. American farmers and ethanol producers can do both, without significantly impacting retail food prices.

By late 2008, prices of agricultural commodities like corn had fallen by 60% compared to the highs seen that June. At the same time, ethanol production continued to increase. The fact that food prices continued to rise while agricultural commodity prices plunged and ethanol production continued to increase is proof that grain and other farm products play a minor role in retail food prices.

1 Source:  Renewable Fuels Association