Recent Press Releases

Thune Praises Study on Higher Ethanol Blends

Study is a Positive Sign for Homegrown Energy

March 6, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today praised a study released by the State of Minnesota and the Renewable Fuels Association, which demonstrates that increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline to 20 percent does not present compatibility problems for current vehicles and provides performance similar to the10 percent ethanol (E10) that is currently approved for use in automobiles.

"The ethanol industry is quickly expanding and by the end of 2008 will be producing approximately 13 billion gallons of ethanol, which is nearly 10 percent of our nation's gasoline supply," said Thune. "It is critical that the federal government act soon to approve higher blends of ethanol and ensure that market demand keeps pace with future ethanol production. This study will help federal regulators as they consider approving higher blends of ethanol such as E20 for non-flex fuel vehicles. By increasing the blend of ethanol, consumers get more choices at the pump, we reduce dependence on foreign oil, and we lay the groundwork to build our domestic ethanol industry for years to come."

Key Findings of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Study:

1. A blend of 20 percent ethanol (E20) does not present problems for current automotive or fuel dispensing equipment.

2. E20 provided power and performance similar to E10 in all weather conditions.

3. The study finds there are no barriers to moving forward with future tests to certify E20 as a federally-approved fuel.

For the past year, Senator Thune has 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. Additionally, as part of the Senate's 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 State of Minnesota will soon complete emissions testing concerning E20 fuel. Once these tests are complete, the emissions testing data and the results from the compatibility testing can be presented to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval.

The full study can be found at