Right now, E10 is the standard; that is, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. Thune wants a jump to 20 percent ethanol mix to "grow the industry." He sent a letter to the EPA requesting the agency to certify a 20 percent blend for use in conventional engines. The EPA will study the request. It's already studying a proposal from Minnesota to offer 20 percent blends throughout the state by 2012.
Ethanol is also available in an E85 blend, but that formula is compatible in only a few vehicles. E85 accounts for about one percent of all ethanol sales.
The EPA is charged with proving that E20 doesn't harm engines or air quality. I also hope the agency conducts thorough tests on fuel economy as well. I certainly don't want to pay for more expensive fuel that isn't as potent.
[Source: Ben Shouse / Sioux Falls Argus Leader]