The bill will improve consumer choice at the pump by providing grants for the installation of blender pumps. As shown here, a blender pump offers motorists with a variety of choices from straight unleaded gasoline up through ethanol blends of up to 85 percent. This particular pump offers unleaded, E20, E30, E50, and E85. Blender pumps take up the same amount of space as a standard pump, but use two underground tanks (typically one with unleaded and one with E85) to mix the two fuels together according to what selection the customer makes at the pump.
In addition, Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin has also introduced a bill to increase the number of Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) available to motorists. These two pieces of the puzzle -- blender pumps and FFVs -- will work together to unlock the possibility of U.S. energy independence.
Today our nation's transportation system is built around oil, and this status quo officially limits biofuels like ethanol to only a 10% slice of the market -- or a 90% petroleum mandate, to look at it from another perspective. Vehicles are made to run on 90% petroleum, fuel dispensers are made to pump 90% petroleum, and the U.S. EPA enforces the 90% petroleum per gallon rule through its regulations.
Blender pumps and FFVs will build much-needed flexibility into the nation's fuel system. If vehicles and pumps had the flexibility to use and dispense any blend of fuel, consumers would finally have choices instead of the 90% petroleum mandate we have today. If consumers prefer gasoline, they would have that choice. But if they want to use something more renewable and affordable, they could choose from several different biofuel options instead. Energy independence cannot come until we have meaningful choice. We hope these key pieces of legislation can be enacted soon.
Posted by: Kristin Brekke