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Fields of Gold

Sun to make Field of Gold

Last April, inflation rates at a 40-year high along with soaring gas prices galvanized action from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something that South Dakota corn growers and ethanol producers had been waiting for: open year-round sales of E15.

Previously, sales were banned June through September because of an antiquated concern for air quality even though an analysis conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2017 showed "that U.S. corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43% compared to gasoline".

In addition, states that "ethanol is a renewable, earth-friendly biofuel that burns cleaner and cooler than gasoline, which is good for our environment and our cars' engines".

And while the EPA temporarily lifted the summer ban last year, SDCGA is advocating for permanent year-round sales. A choice that is backed up by science, not purely economics. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory senior scientist Michael Wang, “With the increased total volume and the reduced Carbon Intensity values of corn ethanol between 2005 and 2019, corn ethanol has resulted in a total greenhouse gas reduction of more than 500 million tons. For the United States, biofuels like corn ethanol can play a critical role in reducing our carbon footprint.”

Another perk for the change? In South Dakota alone, 16 ethanol biorefineries employ 25,772 full-time employees across the state, often in rural communities where good jobs are hard to come by. An increase in production may cause this to increase as well which is great news for all South Dakotans.

South Dakota Corn Growers Association Board Member Scott Stahl and National Corn Growers Association Ethanol Action Team Member shares, “Increasing higher blends of ethanol is a win for not only the American corn farmer but also for our environment through improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it helps consumers save at the pump which is extremely helpful when we all have to tighten our belts in this tough economy. Ethanol has always been a great success story in South Dakota and year-round E15 sales will provide needed certainty to the marketplace for allowing access to higher blends at the pump.”

Fast Facts:

  1. Consumers saved $57 million from June through September by purchasing E15 in 2022.
  2. Governors from 8 Midwest states including South Dakota took action last April to allow the year-round sale of lower-carbon, lower cost E15 in their states.
  3. A simple change to nationwide E15 would reduce CO2 emissions by more than 17.62 million tons per year — the equivalent of taking 3.85 million cars off the road. Source: