A pilot program has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to study the use of E-30 ethanol gasoline blends in state vehicles.
Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Sarah Caswell says the demonstration program will assess the effects of E-30, a blend of 30% ethanol and 70% regular gasoline, on vehicle performance, fuel economy and emissions control systems.
“We look forward to this project and we believe that it will be able to prove that higher ethanol blends are clean burning and don’t harm or damage engines,” Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Sarah Caswell tells Brownfield Ag News. “By going through this program and through rigorous testing, we’re paving the way for high-performing, renewable options for consumers.”
The higher blend of ethanol will be used in about 50 conventional, non-flex fuel, state vehicles, including some Nebraska State Patrol cars. Performance will be compared to vehicles using E-10 and E-15 blends.
Engineering consultants from the University of Nebraska will help provide technical expertise during the duration of the project.
The state of Nebraska requested the EPA approve the project.
“Thank you to acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his team for approving Nebraska’s E-30 pilot project,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a written statement released by his office. “I appreciate the great work Todd Sneller and Nebraska’s ethanol advocates did in collaboration with the EPA to bring this to fruition. We look forward to piloting the use of Nebraska-grown and produced E-30 in state vehicles.”
In recent months, the Governor’s Office, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, and state agencies have been working with the EPA on the request for the pilot program.
Ricketts has directed state agencies to order flex fuel vehicles when possible and other vehicles must be compatible with E-15. The state has also switched over fuel pumps from E-10 to E-15, and agencies also have E-85 available.
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.