USDA Chief Confident of Ethanol Blend Increase

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack believes that the Environmental Protection agency will increase the amount of ethanol allowed in regular gasoline above the current ten percent.

“I’m very confident that we’re going to see an increase in the blend rate,” said Vilsack in a telephone press conference from Iowa on Friday.

Vilsack also said that long-term extensions of the ethanol subsidies are needed in order to attract private capital to meet the mandate of 36 billion gallons of ethanol production by 2022. “We need a plan. We need to show that there’s a way to get to 36 billion gallons,” he said. “We want to find out how many refineries we need to build, we need to find out what feedstocks need to be advanced in terms of research and development. We need to figure out how to do things more efficiently with our current systems and how we might be able to incent those efficiencies. We need to figure out a distribution system and how many blender pumps are we gonna need and where are they going to be located and how do we get started doing that.”

The secretary says he has a team working on that plan and hopes to have it ready by the end of summer.

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