ST. PAUL, Minnesota, May
18, 2005 (ENS): Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has signed
into law a measure that will double the amount of ethanol in gasoline
in Minnesota. "This bill strengthens our rural economy, improves
our air quality and reduces our unhealthy dependence on foreign
oil," said Governor Pawlenty, a Republican. "It also puts
our state at the leading edge of a very promising industry. We truly
are on our way to becoming the Saudi Arabia of renewable fuels."
Currently, a Minnesota law enacted in 1997 requires all gasoline
sold within the state to include 10 percent ethanol (E-10).
Under the legislation signed by the Governor last week, a new E-20
mandate would take effect in 2013 unless ethanol has already replaced
20 percent of the state's motor vehicle fuel by 2010.
Increasing to a 20 percent blend could mean an economic impact
of $1.58 billion and 6,157 jobs, Minnesota officials said.
"Utilizing homegrown renewable fuels is good for our farmers,
it's good for rural economic development, it's good for national
security, and it's good for the environment," said Pawlenty.
"I would much rather have the fuel in our cars come from the
Midwest than from the Middle East."
Pawlenty points out that in Brazil, about 15 percent vehicles use
a blend of gasoline that contains nearly 100 percent ethanol. The
remaining vehicles use blends of 24 percent ethanol with 76 percent
gasoline. "These cars are manufactured by many of the same
major automobile companies who manufacture cars for use in the United
States," he said.
A research report from the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research
at Minnesota State University-Mankato showed that there were no
drivability or material compatibility problems experienced by 15
vehicles of various years, makes and models using E-30.
Minnesota has North America's largest network of E-85 gas stations
with about 130 stations now online. Some 120,000 Minnesotans now
drive flexible fuel cars designed to burn either gasoline or E-85,
a blend of 85 percent ethyl alcohol and 15 percent gasoline.
E-85 is produced from the starch in agricultural products, primarily
domestically produced corn. Growing corn removes CO2 from the atmosphere
so that the total effect of using ethanol made from corn is a reduction
in greenhouse emissions when compared to the use of petroleum fuels.
Minnesota already has the highest renewable fuel use per capita
in the nation. Minnesota was the first state to require the use
of ethanol in gasoline. Other states are beginning to follow suit.
Last year Hawaii enacted a measure similar to Minnesota's mandate.
The Governor of Montana signed their new E-10 requirement into law
last Friday. Through his leadership as chairman of the Governors'
Ethanol Coalition, Pawlenty is encouraging other states to join
"This legislation is a win for everybody," Minnesota
Corn Growers Association President Gene Sandager said. "By
increasing demand for ethanol, local farmers now have a larger market
for what they produce right here in Minnesota. That's good for the
The ethanol industry provides jobs for more than 5,300 Minnesotans
and pumps $1.3 billion dollars into Minnesota's economy. There are
14 ethanol plants in Minnesota that produce more than 450 million
gallons of ethanol every year, with two more plants currently under
construction. Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation in production
of fuel-grade ethanol, after Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska. Minnesota
corn growers send approximately 15 percent of their crop to ethanol