Monday, January 28, 2008

Illinois Ethanol Blends

Moving off of a recent study by the University of North Dakota, Illinois state senators are considering increasing the amount of ethanol blended into their gasoline from 10% up to 20%. This would be a huge benefit for the ethanol industry by virtually doubling the demand for the fuel where ever these mandates are created. Illinois representative Aaron Schock referenced the fact that this measure would insure competitively high prices for farmer's products while at the same time reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, in pushing the bill towards debate. Coming at a cross-roads between corn-derived ethanol and the move towards cellulosic feedstocks, there may be some moves to slow the passage of this bill in the Illinois legislature. Corn acreage and prices have been in large flux over the past month or so and creating this kind of instability in the market could be a problem. Furthermore, until the study results from the University of North Dakota's fuel economy studies can be verified by the Department of Energy, it might be unwise for a legislature to push consumers to accept blends higher than E10 in non flex-fuel cars.

For the original article, follow the link below:


mus302 said...

The EPA hasn't authorized ethanol levels above 10% in non flex fuel vehicles yet. So is he talking about requiring E20 or pushing the EPA for acceptance?

Dave said...

The specifics of the plan, I'm not so sure on. You are absolutely right that the EPA only recommends publicly up to E10. In the original article the state rep from Illinois acknowledges that it might be difficult to convince Detroit that they should include warranties on vehicles that use E20. What the plan calls for is a step up from E10 to E15 and then finally E20 after a few years so I think what their plan is to get the legislation moving through so that if the Dept. of Energy study, that will go more in depth on the U of North Dakota's assessment of E20 and E30 blends comes out favorable, then Illinois will be ahead of the curve. I personally think it is a risky move if they intend to require E20 gasoline in Illinois. Minnesota and Nebraska have variable fuel pumps but it's still up in the air whether it will be alright for non-FFVs.