With EPA yet to start the rulemaking process for year-round sales of 15% ethanol, South Dakota Farmers Union president Doug Sombke penned an editorial this month advocating approval of blends double that amount, up to 30 percent.
“As fuel prices decrease, farmers are seeing corn ethanol markets drop. What to do? Well, let’s hope we don’t see the price at the pumps go up. Instead, let’s use more ethanol,” wrote Sombke.
What I’m suggesting is oil companies increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline – from the mandatory 10 to 30 percent.
And, my reasons are not purely economic. Without higher ethanol blends, a century of research shows the only way to better octane ratings is more carcinogens.
Let me explain. There’s no such thing as pure gasoline. Typical gasoline is made up of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent other petroleum products. And, anywhere from 25 to 40 percent are classified as highly toxic carcinogens. These aromatics include: benzene, toluene and xylene or BTEX.