Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday called on petroleum companies to help increase the percentage of ethanol in America’s gas tanks in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost job creation and promote development of renewable energy from farm-produced feedstocks. Recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action approved the use of E15 a fuel blend that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, up from the current 10 percent blend level.
“The availability of E15 will increase America’s energy security and spur additional job creation,” Vilsack said. “The Obama Administration has an ‘all-of-the-above’ to promoting domestic energy security, and increasing the percentage of ethanol to be blended with gasoline will help boost economic growth while lessening the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”
EPA’s recent decision to allow the blending of up to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline represents one of several steps needed from federal, state and industry to commercialize E15 gasoline blends.
The Renewable Fuel Standard, a long-term renewable fuel mandate established by Congress requires the use of 36 billion gallons of renewable transportation fuel by 2022. Advanced, low-carbon renewable fuels such as cellulosic biofuel must make up 21 billion gallons of this mandate.
“When we get to 36 billion gallons, that’s going to be mean that we will be importing fewer barrels of oil,” said Vilsack. “That means that the wealth that we are currently transferring into those countries that don’t necessarily agree with us and are from an unstable part of the world can be redirected into creating rural opportunities and jobs.”
To enable widespread use of E15, the Obama Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next 5 years. In addition, both through the Recovery Act and the 2008 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees to spur American ingenuity on the next generation of biofuels. Before it can be sold, manufacturers must first take additional measures to help ensure retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements.