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Renewable Accounts: The Drive for Five

Increased gas use is good news for the American farmer.

By David Ripplinger, Bioproducts and Bioenergy Economist and Assistant Professor

NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics

In what is beginning to border on the ridiculous, the North Dakota State University football team is returning to Texas to compete for its fifth consecutive Division I national championship. Like many Bison faithful, I will be making the trek to Frisco. And like last year, I’m look forward to topping off the gas tank due to low gas prices.

The recent fall in retail gas prices has been significant. A year ago, the gas station across the street from my office was asking $1.99 per gallon of regular, today the price is $1.67. Across town, I can get E-85 for $1.27!

The decline in gas prices has been followed with a large increase in vehicle travel and fuel use. This is good news for ethanol as a blend stock. Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is E-10, and increased gas use has made an even larger home for ethanol. That’s good news for the American farmer as it is helping move more of our massive corn pile.

The decline in retail gas prices is a major boost for consumers. In the summer of 2014, gas prices in the region were around $3.50 per gallon. With prices now half that, a consumer who buys 500 gallons annually has an extra $900 in his or her pocket. That’s a significant boost in discretionary income. And what better way to use that money than to treat themselves to a juicy steak or pork chop! Well, maybe a road trip.

In 2015, my family took two road trips. One to Texas to watch the Bison, another to Glacier National Park where we saw a bear. If anyone is looking for a high-volume, high-pitched bear alert system – I’m your guy!

Continued low gas prices are a signal to American consumers to hop in the family wagon and see our nation. If you’re looking for a reason, I heard there is a football game in Texas on Jan. 9.


NDSU Agriculture Communication – Dec. 31, 2015

Source:David Ripplinger, (701) 231-5265, david.ripplinger@ndsu.edu
Editor:Kelli Armbruster, (701) 231-6136, kelli.armbruster@ndsu.edu
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