Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What are the economic advantages of using biofuels?

        Auto | Biofuels

Green Jobs
Economists think 200,000 U.S. jobs can be created for every 10 billion gallons of corn ethanol produced.
Economists think 200,000 U.S. jobs can be created for every 10 billion gallons of corn ethanol produced.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

As the country begins marching more steadily toward increased biofuel production, expect a rise in green jobs and a bump in the standard of living. Some economists say that for every 10 billion gallons of corn ethanol produced, more than $46 billion is added to the U.S. economy, generating up to 200,000 new jobs [source: Energy Future Coalition].

According to researchers, current ethanol production reduces the price of gasoline by 29 to 40 cents per gallon, saving 200,000 jobs [source: Biofuels Digest]. Perhaps no one occupation will benefit more from biofuels than farming. Growing switchgrass to be distilled into ethanol alone will increase farm income in the United States by $6 billion [source: U.S. Department of Energy].

As biofuel use increases, there will be a need for more distillation plants, which would add thousands of construction jobs to the economy. As of early 2011, there were 137 biodiesel plants currently operating in the United States, with 13 more under construction [source: Biodiesel Magazine]. And at the end of 2010, there were 224 ethanol plants online and five currently being built [source: Ethanol Producer Magazine].

If America and the world are serious about transitioning from fossil fuels to biofuels, analysts say companies will need to build nearly 1,000 new production plants for every 50 billion gallons of ethanol. Because transporting biomass -- the organic material used in biofuels -- is costly, most of those facilities will have to be built in rural areas close to where fuel crops are grown, sparking economic hope, not only for local construction personnel, but also for farm families and other local workers [source: Energy Future Coalition].


More to Explore