America’s trade deficit is growing and one reason for that is our crippling dependence on imported oil.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, our appetite for foreign oil accounted for 60 percent of the nation’s $50 billion trade deficit.

“As Congress debates how much money the federal government can borrow, America continues to take out loans from China to buy oil from Venezuela.

“This is insanity, especially when domestic alternatives to imported oil like ethanol exist,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice-President for Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper.

"America’s financial house is in disarray and yet members of Congress still defend generous taxpayer handouts to oil companies that feed this nation’s addiction to imported oil."

Currently, domestic ethanol production is equivalent to the amount of gasoline refined from more than 450 million barrels of imported oil a year — a volume greater than what we import each year from Saudi Arabia.

In 2010, ethanol accounted for 25 percent — one out of every four gallons — of the fuel produced from domestic sources that was consumed by our nation’s gasoline vehicles.

The livestock feed co-product component of ethanol production, known as distillers grains or DDGS, is a growing export opportunity for the U.S. with 2010 volumes of DDGS exports approaching 9 million metric tons valued at more than $1 billion dollars.

Finally, because domestic ethanol markets are artificially constrained, U.S. fuel ethanol exports to Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere are growing and helping to offset America’s growing trade imbalance.

“American ethanol production can one day displace the nation’s need for imported oil,” said Cooper.

“But in order for that happen, we must continue to invest in new ethanol technologies, open new domestic markets such as E15 and other higher level ethanol blends, and level the transportation fuel playing field by eliminating the generous taxpayer handouts to the very profitable oil industry.

“America can and should promote the use of domestically sourced and produced renewable energy.”