By Tim Rudnicki, Esq
In the June newsletter we shared with you the good news about the E15 Dispenser Law. Minnesota Legislators and Governor Mark Dayton understand the way biofuels, such as ethanol, help Minnesotans, strengthen our energy security and economy and improve our environmental quality. They also understand that Minnesotans will only be able to realize these benefits if those who seek a lower priced, higher octane fuel for their 2001 or newer vehicles actually have access to E15.
The outcome of the legislative process is a law which is aimed at helping retailers, with 15 or fewer stations, maximize the potential of their existing fuel dispensing systems so they can offer E15. This law has a very clear focus and narrow scope. At this time, Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association is working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders to take the elements of the law and put them into a program format which will be meaningful to and useful for the men and women who make the decisions about their product offerings and actually operate the fuel dispensers.
Based on the feedback we have received from fuel retailers throughout the metro area and across Minnesota, we expect high demand for the E15 program. We will keep you posted on its progress and availability.
On a related environmental matter, a number of you have inquired about the carbon reduction associated with adding another 5% ethanol to regular E10. Our first report on this issue was based on information provided by Steffen Mueller, Principal Research Economist with the University of Illinois at Chicago. In brief, adding 5% more ethanol to regular gasoline sold in Minnesota will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by another 358,000 metric tons annually. Put another way, this carbon offset is equivalent to removing approximately 75,368 vehicles from Minnesota’s highways for a year. Using the same U.S. EPA GHG equivalency calculator, the additional carbon offset from E15 is like running 98 wind turbines each rated at an output of two megawatts. To realize these environmental benefits, however, we must make more E15 available in the marketplace. And the E15 program will be a great step forward.