E85 Boondoggle of the Day: E20
Hey! Here’s an idea! While we wait for the whole country to switch to E85 (and Mexicans to renew their tortilla riots), let’s double the percentage of ethanol in “normal” U.S. gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to twenty percent (E20). Sounds great! You know; if you’re an ethanol producer. And that’s as good a description as any for the majority of the people who read Ethanol Producer (EP) magazine. In the none-too-subtly titled “Overcoming E20’s Objections,” the September issue of that august journal identifies ground zero in the campaign to increase gasoline’s ethanol content by 100 percent. “In 2005, Minnesota passed unprecedented legislation requiring that the state’s fuel consist of at least 20 percent ethanol by 2013. The state already enforces an E10 mandate and is home to more than 300 E85 fueling stations. To raise total fuel consumption to a level of 20 percent, the state has two choices—consume enough E85 to total 20 percent of all fuel consumed or convince the U.S. EPA to grant a waiver to the Clean Air Act and allow E20 to be used in all gasoline.” Can you guess which way they’re going? To that end, The Gopher (It) state is already researching E20’s effects on ethanol industry profits auto engines. To scribe Kris Bevill’s credit, problems are identified– plastic corrosion, catalytic converter temperature increases, lost mpgs– before the expected coat of gloss is applied. Bottom line? “As far as the national initiative is concerned, we’ve started the ball rolling in that direction,” “marketing specialist” for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Mark Groschen told EP. “If it didn’t happen until 2015, well that would still be progress wouldn’t it? If we got 15 percent instead of 20 percent—15 is more than 10. We’re just trying to make progress.”
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