Growing American Fuel Security in South Dakota

Renewable Fuels Sector Drives $6.9 Billion in State Economic Output

As an early champion of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), Sen. Thune continues to defend this important economic driver and source of energy security.

Highlights of Sen. Thune’s Leadership for Renewable Fuels:

  • Leading a Bipartisan, Regionally Diverse Coalition of Senators to Defend the RFS and Advocate for Higher Volumes and Blending Targets:
    • According to Fuels America, the renewable fuels sector in South Dakota annually generates $6.9 billion in economic output; over 26,700 direct, induced, and supplier jobs; $2.1 billion in wages; and nearly $191 million in state and $390 million in federal tax revenue.
    • There are 16 ethanol plants driving this important industry in South Dakota, each contributing to a total state production capacity of over 1 billion gallons per year.
    • Sen. Thune remains a strong advocate for increasing blends from E10 to E15 and has cosponsored efforts to extend an EPA waiver that would permit E15 to be sold during summer months. In 2007, he secured a grant program to assist gas station owners with the purchase and installation of alternative fuel tanks and pumps.
    • He has consistently advocated for higher renewable volume obligations, contesting the administration’s efforts to invoke so-called “distribution waivers,” as well as legislative efforts to weaken the RFS.
  • Advancing American Biodiesel:
    • In 2015, Sen. Thune cosponsored a provision to convert the biodiesel tax credit from a blender’s credit to a producer’s credit, a change that would benefit South Dakota producers and reduce fraud.
    • Sen. Thune has cosigned letters to the EPA in support of higher biodiesel volumes under the RFS, as well as insulating domestic refiners from being crowded out of the market by imported biodiesel.