Whatever else happened these last 10 years, not many groups would call the time "the era when biofuels such as ethanol came of age." But this is exactly the phrase that the Renewable Fuels Association uses to describe the Noughties.
More precisely, the RFA says that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 forced America to pay attention to the many costs of importing oil and ethanol, available and easy to pump into the fuel supply, became the alternative fuel of choice. During the decade, Americans got used to seeing ethanol in their fuel, and production rates climbed. In 1999, the U.S. produced 1.4 billion gallons. Last year, it was 10.6 billion. In January, 2000, there were 54 ethanol plants in the U.S. Now there are over 200, "with even more under construction."

Of course, the Noughties were tough on ethanol, too, with a lot of company bankruptcies and plant closings. Still, with liquid-fueled engines sticking around for a long time, perhaps ethanol's decade won't last just ten years?

[Source: Renewable Fuels Association]

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