Recent Press Releases

Thune Applauds Higher Blends Study, POET Project

-Higher Blends a Necessity for the Ethanol Industry-

October 7, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today issued the following statement in response to an interim report from the U.S. Department of Energy concerning on-going tests of higher blends of ethanol.

"E10, the mixture of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol is currently saving consumers money and reducing our dependence on imported energy," said Thune. "The approval of higher blends of ethanol, such as E20, will lead to greater consumption of homegrown energy while creating more jobs in South Dakota.

"Higher blends of ethanol would be a major victory for South Dakota's renewable fuels sector and for consumers, all while increasing our nation's energy security."

By the end of this year, the domestic ethanol industry will be producing over nine billion gallons of ethanol. The maximum market for E10 is projected to be 13 to 14 billion gallons of ethanol each year. Without approval for higher blends of ethanol, the market for E10 will soon be saturated.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when compared to traditional gasoline, vehicles that ran on E15 and E20 displayed the following results:
  • Tailpipe emissions were similar;

  • Under normal operations, catalyst temperatures in the 13 cars were largely unchanged;

  • When tested under full-throttle conditions, about half of the cars exhibited only slightly increased catalyst temperatures; and,

  • Based on informal observations during testing, drivability was unchanged.

On September 25, 2008, Senator Thune hosted a meeting to discuss the on-going higher blends studies. The meeting included a bipartisan group of six U.S. Senators and representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Environmental Protection Agency. The meeting focused on the importance of creating a strategy to approve higher blends of ethanol for use in non-flex fuel vehicles.

Senator Thune also commented on the announcement that POET will receive $76 million from the Department of Energy for the expansion of an existing facility to produce 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.

"The Renewable Fuels Standard in the 2007 Energy Bill mandates increased cellulosic ethanol consumption, and I applaud POET for their work to perfect this technology," said Thune. "The increased production of cellulosic ethanol will expand the market for energy dedicated crops and create additional jobs in rural communities."