A recent report from alternative fuels advocate Fuels America says renewable fuels bring nearly $1 billion in economic impact to South Carolina.
The national study, conducted by John Dunham & Associates of New York, estimates the economic impacts of renewable fuels in 2014 using standard econometric models developed by the U.S. Forest Service. Fuels include corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and advanced biofuels. The study found that biofuels drive $932.8 million of economic output in South Carolina. The industry is supporting 5,508 jobs and $199.2 million in wages. The figures include direct impacts in agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale and retail; and supplier and induced impacts in an additional eight categories.
The industry also paid just over $40 million in taxes.
In the Upstate, direct impacts included 148 jobs, $7.8 million in wages and $72.7 million in economic impact.
The study was conducted to asses the economic impacts of of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS), a program implemented in 2005, sparking the use of E15 gasoline made with 15 percent ethanol.
It required 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into gasoline by 2012, and was later expanded to require that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into transportation fuel by 2022. Under the RFS, the EPA also had to apply standards to ensure that each category of renewable fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than the petroleum fuel it replaces.