Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency approved an increase in the allowable amount of ethanol blended in gasoline – from 10% to 15% – for model year 2007 vehicles and newer.
The decision is expected to affect 43 million vehicles nationwide – or 20% of the current fleet – and over half a million in Wisconsin. The EPA will decide later this year on allowing E15 in 2001-2006 model year vehicles, which – in conjunction with the recent ruling – could ultimately impact well over 50% of vehicles on the road today.
The increased demand for ethanol not only means new fuels for consumers down the line, but the potential for more biofuel production as well. If the standard for ethanol-blended fuel shifts to E15, our country would need to produce 50% more ethanol per year than we currently are.
States like Wisconsin, which already has nine ethanol facilities producing 500 million gallons of the fuel each year, are in a prime position to capitalize on a boost to this industry. Higher ethanol standards mean the potential for more production facilities, more investment, and more jobs across the Midwest.
Jeff Broin, the CEO of Poet, the nation’s largest ethanol producer, has said the EPA ruling “advances [Poet’s] efforts to build the first commercial-scale plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, that will use a cellulose-based feedstock… [W]e expect to build multiple cellulosic plants and license the technology to others.”
The EPA ruling provides a solid foundation for growth in the ethanol industry, and we are excited to see what the future holds. Our experience constructing renewable fuel projects reaches across Wisconsin and Iowa, including the Green Plains ethanol plant in Superior, Iowa and the Best Energies biodiesel facility in Cashton, Wis., among many others. We are ready and waiting when called upon to help build the infrastructure needed to help grow our local economy and produce more clean, renewable fuel right here in the Midwest.