As Congress debates how much money the federal government can borrow, America continues to take out loans from China to buy oil from Venezuela. Recent U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that the United States’ appetite for foreign oil accounted for 60% of the nation’s 50-billion dollar trade deficit. Renewable Fuels Association Vice President for Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper calls that insanity, noting America’s financial house is in disarray and yet members of Congress still defend generous taxpayer handouts to oil companies that feed this nation’s addiction to imported oil.
There is good news. RFA points out that because domestic ethanol markets are artificially constrained, U.S. fuel ethanol exports to Brazil, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere are growing and helping to offset America’s growing trade imbalance. According to Cooper, American ethanol production can one day displace the nation’s need for imported oil. But he says we must level the transportation fuel playing field by eliminating the generous taxpayer handouts to the very profitable oil industry.
Currently, domestic ethanol production is equivalent to the amount of gasoline refined from more than 450-million barrels of imported oil a year, a volume greater than what we import each year from Saudi Arabia. In 2010, ethanol accounted for 25% of the fuel produced from domestic sources that was consumed by our nation’s gasoline vehicles.