By Timothy J. Rudnicki, Esq
The current biofuels infrastructure bill in the Minnesota legislature (House File 1257 and Senate File 1277) is really more than just increasing fuel tanks, pipes and dispensers.
It's about bolstering Minnesota's energy security, saving consumers at the pump, driving down greenhouse gas emissions and boosting Minnesota's economy. And to fully realize these economic, environmental and social benefits, there needs to be greater access to E15 in Minnesota. That's where this biofuels infrastructure bill comes in.
If the state invests $12.5 million in E15 infrastructure, some 150 additional stations would be able to dispense E15, which in turn could potentially increase E15 consumption in Minnesota to 150 million gallons annually.
More E15 equals less harmful greenhouse gas emissions. A University of Illinois analysis shows that if all gasoline in Minnesota contained 15 percent ethanol instead of just 10 percent, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by an additional 358,000 metric tons annually. To put that into perspective, we would need to remove 75,368 vehicles from our roads annually to achieve the same result.
Investing in E15 infrastructure will also have a positive impact on Minnesota's economy.
An independent analysis by ABF Economics shows that this one-time investment of $12.5 million would boost Minnesota's GDP by $35.9 million, support 276 full-time jobs, generate $25.5 million in household income and pay $1.4 million in state and local taxes.
This biofuels infrastructure bill will also play a critical role in meeting Minn. Stat 239.7911, which states biofuels should comprise 25 percent in transportation fuel by 2020.
As of 2015, biofuels comprised 12.47 percent of transportation fuel in Minnesota. Increasing access and usage of E15 would certainly help us meet the goals set in Minn. State 239.7911.
Last but not least, an investment of $12.5 million is just 7/10 of 1 percent of Minnesota's projected budget surplus of $1.65 billion that is available for the upcoming biennium.
The facts are plain to see. Minnesota has much to gain from this biofuels infrastructure bill and we call upon Minnesota lawmakers to pass this bill and send it to Gov. Mark Dayton.