Indiana Ethanol Company Makes Case for E-15

Blending wall should come down, officials say.

Published on: May 7, 2009

There are always two sides to every issue. While talking points distributed to customers and others who might want to comment in favor of the proposal before the Environmental Protection Agency to raise the allowable ethanol limit in gasoline from 10 to 15% may be somewhat biased, they're an accurate description of how one company believes such a change could help not only them and other ethanol makers, but also benefit farmers and agriculture in general- a sort of raising all boats through a rising tide approach.

Dave Hudak, general manager of POET Biorefining, Alexandria, recently summarized key points he believe farmers and anyone interested in ethanol should make to EPA. You can submit comments on the formal request to raise the allowable percentage if you act by May 22. A complete description of how to send comments can be found in Wednesday's item on our Website.

According to statements released by POET Biorefining, Congress mandated the use of 26 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022, some 13 years away. The figure produced annually now is somewhere around one-fourth of that number. Since more than 70% of gas sold in America contains ethanol, either in a 10% blend with petroleum–produced gasoline, or as an E85 blend, the best way to meet the goal would be to open up standards so people using the 90-20 blend could instead burn an 85-15 blend, increasing overall consumption of ethanol dramatically.

Hudak believes science supports the use of a 15% blend in modern vehicles in the U.S. And he also believes the current arbitrary roadblock to further investment in second-generation biofuels is just that- arbitrary.

This debate ahs introduced a new time to Hoosier lingo. Instead of just blue-collar jobs, often thought to be factory jobs and other jobs primarily completed by common laborers, and white-collar jobs, typically referring to businessmen and professionals, there are now green-collar jobs. Those are the ones that could be created by an expansion in the alternative fuels/biofuels segment of the economy, supporters suggest.

In fact, data supplied by POET Biorefining estimates that for every one billion gallons of ethanol produced, another 10,000 to 20,000 green-collar jobs are created in the U.S. SO according to their calculations, moving from B-10 to B-15 as the allowable cap would create 70,000 to 140,000 new green-collar jobs somewhere in the U.S.