In an effort to cut down on global warming, California regulators have stepped up the amount of ethanol to be blended in the state’s fuel supply. Currently, the state puts ethanol in gasoline at a six percent rate. That goes up to 10 percent in 2010.
This article from the San Francisco Chronicle points out the problem with that: not much of it is homegrown for the Golden State. It has to be imported from the Midwest:
The great boom in ethanol plant construction that swept the nation’s farm belt in recent years has barely touched the Golden State. Biorefineries here make only 8.6 percent of all the ethanol California uses. Other states supply the rest, shipped by rail over the Sierra or through the Southern California desert.
The California Air Resources Board this summer decided to raise the amount of ethanol that oil companies can blend into the gasoline they sell here. By 2013 – after the new rules kick in – California’s ethanol use is expected to jump more than 78 percent, to 1.7 billion gallons per year.
Experts expect the ethanol industry in California to take off to meet that demand. In the meantime, Midwest ethanol is in ample supply. The biggest issue remains getting it there.