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By BETH ZUMWALT
Everyone is aware of the cost of gasoline these days and how it is affecting all aspects of life. Government officials scramble to find ways to stop the rise and even lower the prices that are up to four decade highs.
One of the proposals on the table is increasing the ethanol in gas to 15 percent from the current 10 percent. E-10 is used only in the winter months.
“At 15 percent, the majority of the fuel would still be gasoline,” Ed Logan of Logan Fuel and Ag Products, said. “Most of the gasoline in Illinois and Missouri is already at 10 percent.”
Logan said common misconceptions with ethanol is that is contributes to air pollution and it takes food off the table.
“Both are untrue,” Logan said. “It has been proven ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline. And #2 corn which is what we grow around here is not used for human consumption. You are not going to see any corn raised in Pike County in a Del Monte can.”
Logan said regulations say that any vehicle newer than a 2001 is capable of burning E-10. The fuel is not to be confused with E-85 which is just for flex-fuel vehicles.
“I burn E-15 in my 1998 Corvette and it has never caused me any problems,” Logan added.
Logan said if the E-15 would become the standard, 50 percent more corn would be needed, making the price of fuel lower and the price of corn higher.
“It would provide a floor for the market price,” he said. “Farmers are looking at higher land prices, higher input costs, higher prices for equipment. It would be nice for them to have a guaranteed price for corn.”
He added the increased ethanol production will offset the loss of fuel from Russia and is a renewable fuel source.
“Anytime I talk to a group of people, I tell them to burn what they grow. I’m highly supportive of it. Anything we can do to keep our grain here and not have to depend on foreign markets is a good thing.”
Dan Cole, a member of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, that lives north of Hull, does not disagree with Logan but says it is not as simple as simply adding more ethanol to fuel.
“In Illinois there are only 113 pumps in Illinois certified to pump E-15 according to the Illinois State Fire Marshall, which must certified each pump and what products it is safe to pump,” Crow said.
Cole said there are six pumps in Jacksonville, 8-10 in Springfield and one at Logan’s In Griggsville.
“There are less than 3,000 nation wide and most of those are in Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. The infrastructure just isn’t there, just like it isn’t for electric cars in this area,”
Cole said there is no reason the pumps can’t pump the E-15, other than the lack of certification by the fire marshals who inspect the stations and convenience stores.
“There is no mechanical reason,” he said. “E-15 is just a promise that can’t be kept.”
Cole said by increasing the percentage from 10 to 15 percent would result in approximately seven more million bushels being needed.
“We produce 15 billion bushels of corn every year,” he said. “It’s not going to have a big affect.”