|States with Renewable Fuels Standard initiatives. Dark green are states where the law is enacted; light green are in legislative process.|
Last year, Minnesota took the lead on calling for every state to take steps toward use of at least 10% ethanol in gasoline (an E10 blend) by 2010. (Minnesota currently requires E10 blends and has instituted an E20 requirement by 2013. (Earlier post.)
Although some states are heeding the call, progress has been slow. Hawaii may join Minnesota on April 2 as the second state in the US to require E10, according to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
Montana passed an E10 requirement last year, but it will not go into effect until the state has produced its own ethanol at a rate of 30 million gallons per year for a period of at least three months. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, there are no major fuel ethanol plants currently in operation in Montana.
The Idaho House of Representatives killed that state’s ethanol initiative after it had been passed by the Senate. But legislatures in Washington state, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Iowa have all offered bills meant to establish renewable fuels standards in their states.
When our public officials don’t take the lead on the national level, the states almost have to. It’s that important to rural states and what happens to rural development.
I would like to think that it’s only a matter of time for any state that has a large ag sector to pass renewable fuel requirements. It’s too good an opportunity to miss. The jobs and economic impact make an immediate difference to the communities where they locate. South Dakota just came out with a study that shows their ethanol industry has a one billion dollar annual impact in the state. For a state with the (population) size of South Dakota, that’s huge.—Ron Obermoller, Minnesota corn farmer and ethanol and biodiesel producer
The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 institutes a Renewable Fuels Standard that starts at 4 billion gallons in 2006 and increases to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012—a figure that would represent about 3.5% of projected total gasoline and diesel consumption by that year.
|State Renewable Fuels Standards|
|Montana||E10||When state achieves min. prod level||Yes|
|Washington||Ethanol: 10% total sales
Biodiesel: 5% total sales
|When state demonstrates sufficient in-state production.||No|
|Illinois||10% of total sales
15% of total sales
|Iowa||25% of total sales||2015||No|