Before E-20 would become a part of Minnesota's motor fuel in 2013, the state must research the impact of E-20 on a variety of engines and components and seek a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To receive this waiver, the state must demonstrate that E-20 will not harm the environment or vehicles. The state must also explore why cars and small engines in Brazil function well on E-25, and what if any modifications may be recommended for gasoline engines in Minnesota.
Ethanol burns cleaner and more completely than gasoline, so ethanol-blended fuel can keep your fuel system cleaner for optimal performance. Also, because ethanol keeps fuel systems dry, it helps prevent frozen fuel lines in the winter.
There are more than 200 E-85 fueling sites in the U.S. and 130 in Minnesota . More stations are coming online to meet the growing demand. You can find the state's E-85 stations and get a list of cars that use E-85 by visiting www.cleanairchoice.org.
Years ago, some studies showed a negative energy balance for ethanol production. However, thanks to advances in corn production and ethanol processing technology over the years, ethanol now has a positive energy balance. Recent studies show a net energy gain of 67 percent. This compares to a net energy loss of 19 percent for gasoline.
Minnesota was the first state to implement the 10 percent ethanol requirement and has successfully used the blend for 10 years. Hawaii passed a 10 percent requirement in 2004 and Montana passed legislation for E-10 in 2005.
E-10 is warranted by every automaker that sells vehicles in the U.S. Many car companies recommend the use of ethanol because it burns clean with high performance characteristics. In fact, the famous Indy car series has announced that they will race on 95 percent ethanol fuel in 2007.
Only certain vehicles are intended for use with E-85. “Flex Fuel” vehicles have been equipped to determine the percentage of ethanol in the system and adjust to achieve proper performance and emissions.
The use of higher ethanol blends may slightly reduce mileage performance in some vehicles. However, blending ethanol can reduce the cost of gasoline and thus offset mileage loss.
Ethanol has clear benefits for air quality and for the economic health of rural Minnesota communities, but most important of all, it helps reduce our reliance on imported oil. Thanks to ethanol, those of us who drive in Minnesota have already reduced our dependence on imported oil by nearly 10 percent, and we now have the chance to double that benefit.
Ag Marketing & Development Division