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The advantages and limitations of the U.S. ethanol industry have both become apparent during the current period of high petroleum prices. One advantage is that ethanol is cost-reducing as a gasoline additive and as a gasoline replacement using E85 (motor fuel blends of 85 percent ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline). However, corn supply limits ethanol's role in energy markets; ethanol-based corn demand will surpass exports when the 7.5 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard is fully implemented; and even if the Midwest were to secede from The Union, the entire Midwestern corn crop could only supply two-thirds of regional gasoline demand with ethanol. Clearly, a broader resource base and other processing technologies are needed if bioenergy is going to expand its role in the national energy scene.
American Agricultural Economics Association
Gallagher, Paul W., "Energy Production with Biomass: What Are the Prospects?" (2006). Economics Publications. 444.