If you thought last year was a bad one at the gas pump, it could've been worse. That's what one report partially funded by ethanol advocate Renewable Fuels Association says.

U.S. ethanol production actually cut wholesale gas prices by $1.09 a gallon last year because of relatively lower ethanol prices and the greater use of ethanol blends, The Auto Channel said, citing a PDF report written by researchers at University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University for Iowa State's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.

Ethanol production cut the typical U.S. household's spending on gas by more than $1,200 last year and by an average of $340 a year since 2000, according to the report.

Ethanol advocates have been pushing for blends with a higher percentage of ethanol as a way to cut both gas costs and dependency on foreign oil, while opponents have decried subsidies given to ethanol producers. Late last year, Congress ended a three-decade tax subsidy for the corn-based ethanol, which was reported to have received $45 billion in subsidies since 1980.

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