Moving beyond the Corn Belt, the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition saw a win this week after the Arizona state Senate passed a bill which classifies E85 as a motor fuel and permits it to be used in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The Arizona Senate voted 24-5 to pass House Bill 2590. A version of the bill passed the House in February and now moves back to the House to reconcile the two versions.
In the early 1990's, Arizona adopted rules that restricted the forms of transportation fuels that were eligible to be sold in Maricopa County, the greater Phoenix area. This action was part of the state and local efforts to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles. These regulations prevented the sale of some forms of alternative transportation fuels such as E85.
The state of Florida also prohibits the sale of E85 as a transportation fuel. The NEVC has also been assisting Florida officials with regulatory adjustments to allow for the public sale of E85. A rulemaking is anticipated in the next sixty days.
NEVC Executive Director Phil Lampert says the NEVC staff has been working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for the past two years providing technical information, emission testing materials, and general background on the use of E85. He adds Arizona was an early leader in the use of compressed natural gas as a motor fuel, but had not been familiar with E85.
"It's not enough to solely concentrate on the sale of E85 in the 'corn belt'. For E85 to be integrated into the entire nation's transportation fuel system, it must be a fifty state fuel," states Curtis Donaldson, Chairman of the NEVC. "Clearly this action by the Arizona State Senate and prior approval by the House will open another key market to this superior form of alternative transportation fuel."