Did you know that the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) could have a surprising impact on corn farmers and the heartland? Currently, a whopping 40% of the corn crop in the United States is used to fuel our gas tanks, because of to a federal mandate requiring 10% ethanol in gasoline.
General Motors recently announced their plans to sell only EVs by 2035, and other car manufacturers are following suit. This could potentially lead to a significant decrease in the demand for corn as a gasoline input, which may have a profound effect on the Corn Belt economy. As the shift towards electric vehicles gains momentum, this transition could reshape the corn industry and the heartland as a whole.
While the decrease in demand for corn as a gasoline input may initially seem alarming, it opens doors to explore alternative uses for this versatile crop. Excess corn could be distributed to people experiencing food insecurity, and to correct imbalances in the global corn market from major shocks like the war in Ukraine or natural disasters. And for creative thinkers in bioplastics, food industries, manufacturing, the possibilities are endless.
"Research has proven that almost anything that is made from oil can be made from corn. In lieu of petroleum, thousands of corn products are becoming more environmentally friendly, including paint, paper products, glues, toothpaste, cleaners, fireworks, chemicals and laundry dryer sheets."
- Nebraska Corn Board
We have about a decade of planning time before this economic shift is likely to occur--plenty of time to transition agricultural plans, launch startups in the corn-based materials industry, or plan major initiatives to address hunger at scale. Would it be corny to say that this could be a golden opportunity? 🌽