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House Ag Committee Chairman Backs Nationwide E15 Blend

Reuters. Congress should move to approving a 15% ethanol blend in gasoline (E15), said Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), the chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, in an interview with Reuters.

“I’d like to see us do nationwide a 15 percent blend,” said Peterson. He said President-elect Barack Obama “will be supportive of whatever we (Congress) come up with.”

In the next few years, ethanol production in the US will likely reach the point (approximately 14 billion gallons per year) at which there is sufficient ethanol supply to enable a nationwide E10 blend—the maximum ethanol blend approved for use in non flex-fuel vehicles.

Tests are currently underway to explore the effect of mid-range ethanol blends on vehicles and small engines. (Earlier post.)



Can traditional engines handle E15?

More to the point, which makes more sense? Having a large fleet of flex fuel vehicles and E85 options near where the ethanol is produced with E5 or E10 elsewhere, or just having E15 everywhere?

Well, it depends on how much energy it takes to get the ethanol from corn in Iowa to the refinery to the market on the east and west coast. If that takes a big chunk of energy, then we ought to work on promoting E85 in the corn belt heavily and not focus on moving so much ethanol to the coasts. If, however, the energy to get ethanol to the coasts is comparable with gasoline, then lets ratchet up those E10 numbers and get rid of this silly idea of flex fuel special cars.

The question is: can we pipeline ethanol, or do we have to truck it? Currently we truck it, but progress is being made on pipelining it safely.


My driver's manuals read "up to 10% ethanol." I think a retrofit would be necessary for E15 because the materials might start breaking down with a higher ethanol content.

As an aside: I believe the sooner we can reduce burning chemicals in the atmosphere, including alcohols, the better for the world. A "balls to the wall" effort to replace ICEs is what's needed.

Henry Gibson

It is unfortunate that it could even be considered by an elected educated human to use food for running automobiles when laws could be passed to eliminate the use of inefficient automobiles. ..HG..


Premature. Just farm state pork barrel BS.

Max Reid

By 2010, Cellulose Ethanol will be coming to market at lower prices. Also a company has started selling kits that will make regular vehicles run on E85, its called Flexfuel US.

Already 2/3 of gas stations in US sell E10, pretty soon, all will sell, next step is to extend it to E15.
Parallely E85 is also expanding and now there are 1,800 stations selling it.

The lesser Oil we import, sooner the US economy could recover.

Paul in Pittsburgh

This is backwards. If they mandate the blend then all the tax credits go to big oil and distributors. The ethanol will all have to be trucked to the big blending sites. Why not allow the pump to do it at the station? The station then gets the existing tax credit. This will enable the mom + pops to put in pumps that can put whatever mix you want into your tank.

** Make it mandatory that all gasoline powered, passenger vehicles that come off the line be flex capable - at minimum. Further by 2012 they must have the ability to burn the common ratios of ethanol (and/or methanol/butanol) and gasoline. The chips, sensors, seals and fittings are already available and in commercial use NOW. The same chips/sensors can handle CNG – storage there however is a different story. Give the consumer the ability to see what their fuel cost per mile is by passing that data back to the consumer on a cheap LCD display. This is DIY territory with programmable chip kits today.

The implied demand alone will get the mom and pops to put in the pumps or lose business to those that will. Let the free market, entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity work.

Don’t mandate the blends, allow the blends. Including non-blended. Allow the consumer to choose the fuel they want. Allow the retailers to supply the blends that the consumer demands. Allow the market to determine the winners. It’s a matter of breaking a monopoly – an oil monopoly. Don’t mandate what I put in my tank, allow me to choose. The world will be a safer AND cleaner place if I do.

Let’s also make the blenders tax credits more consistent. Continue, extend and increase them to other second-generation biofuels (like cellulosic alcohol or a Fischer-Tropsch-type projects like the one in Mahanony City or the new one in Georgia). I think it’s also important to tie these breaks to the price of gasoline/diesel AND phase them out over time. This will tend to stabilize fuel prices and force alternative fuel suppliers to continually become more efficient and competitive. We should obviously phase out the .54/tariff in ethanol imports as well over time. Though we all know they are a joke. Brazil ships to the Bahamas and the blenders buy from the Bahamas to get around it – but that’s just inefficient. Whatev, I don’t mind letting the U.S. ethanol industry get off the ground first.

I’m not a proponent of unnecessary government regulation, in fact it galls me when government gets in the way of legitimate commerce and free trade. But history has shown us time and time again that the right regulation applied to a monopoly can be enormously beneficial to the country as a whole and the average citizen in particular. Let that average citizen decide.

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