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Thune Heralds Ethanol Study

Non-flex-fuel Vehicles May Run More Efficiently on Higher Ethanol Blends

December 5, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune praised a study released today by the American Coalition for Ethanol, which finds that certain non-flex-fuel vehicles can have better fuel economy with higher ethanol blends than with regular gasoline. The study also found that higher ethanol blends reduce tailpipe emissions. The study was jointly funded by the Sioux Falls-based American Coalition for Ethanol and the U.S. Department of Energy and conducted by the University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) and the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research (MnCAR).

"I applaud the American Coalition for Ethanol for taking action and studying the impact of intermediate blends of ethanol. I am encouraged by the findings of this study, which should benefit the federal regulatory process for approving higher blends of ethanol," said Thune. "Intermediate blends of ethanol would offer consumers more choices at the pump, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and benefit our domestic ethanol industry for years to come."

Key Findings of the University of North Dakota/Minnesota State University Study:

1. Ethanol's energy content was not found to be a direct predictor of fuel economy.
2. E20 and E30 ethanol blends outperformed gasoline in fuel economy tests for certain autos.
3. Standard, non-flex-fuel vehicles operated well on ethanol blends beyond 10 percent.
4. Vehicle emissions met EPA requirements and were improved in key areas.

An analysis of the study by the group Better Environmental Solutions showed that the higher ethanol blends also had a significant effect in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other harmful pollutants. According to this analysis, even a one-percent increase in mileage can save consumers over $4.3 billion annually and the approval of E20 would result in the reduction of 58 million tons of carbon dioxide.

For the past year Senator Thune as been working with the ethanol industry and the Administration to approve higher blends of ethanol for non-flex fuel vehicles. Recently, Senator Thune led a bipartisan group of Senators in writing the President asking him to direct the federal government to study and approve higher blends of ethanol. As part of the Senate 2007 Farm Bill, Senator Thune, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, inserted a resolution directing the relevant federal agencies to approve higher blends of ethanol in the near future.

The full study can be found at