Ethanol generates power for S.D. economy

Ethanol generates power for S.D. economy By Krystil Smit When you think of a generator, what comes to mind? For most of us, a generator is simply a generic machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy and kicks in automatically to maintain and even boost power when power has been lost.

When it comes to generating power in our state, South Dakotans believe the ethanol industry is that machine.

The proof is in a poll which recently surveyed 500 South Dakota voters on their view of ethanol, the impact of its production in the state and what steps should be taken to encourage its use. The poll revealed that 96 percent of voters are convinced that ethanol is overwhelmingly important to South Dakota�s economy.

Ninety-six percent is a compelling number. What do South Dakota voters believe the ethanol industry is doing for the state�s economy? Generating.

Listen closely and you�ll hear the hum of the ethanol industry generating jobs, generating economic activity, generating income for South Dakota farmers, and generating power for an agriculturally-based state. And that�s not limited to where ethanol plants are located. Ethanol�s power to steer the state�s economy reaches every community, every household.

But according to the poll, voters are disappointed about one thing: Sixty-six percent believe the state is not doing enough to promote the manufacture and use of ethanol in South Dakota. And consumers, as well as state political leaders, have some definite ideas about how the state should take a more active role.

As gas prices climb higher and higher, South Dakota citizens believe they�re not just spinning their wheels in the fight to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of fuel. The poll provided proof that voters know a solution is only as far as the nearest ethanol fuel pump.

Those surveyed would like to see all gasoline in South Dakota to contain at least 10 percent ethanol, similar to the lead neighboring states have taken by requiring E10. In fact, Minnesota bumped that standard up to 20 percent just this year.

Interestingly, the majority of South Dakota�s political leaders think the same thing. In an unscientific poll of state politicians conducted by the South Dakota Corn Growers Association last fall, 61 percent of those who responded to the survey said they would support legislation that would require all unleaded gasoline in South Dakota to contain 10 percent ethanol.

But perhaps the strongest message delivered in the poll is voters unequivocally oppose placing a financial burden on consumers by increasing taxes on ethanol. Currently, ethanol is taxed two cents less than regular gasoline and 86 percent of respondents oppose any effort to increase taxes on motorists by eliminating the pump incentive for ethanol.

A clearer message could not have been sent from the polled South Dakota voters: Ethanol is generating a future for South Dakota.

Support for the industry from South Dakota consumers is clear and they are undeterred in their expectations: Make ethanol a priority in South Dakota.

The power is ours. All we have to do is use it.

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