EPA OKs E30 for NE State Vehicles

OAKHURST, N.J. (DTN) -- The Environmental Protection Agency approved a request by the state of Nebraska to study the use of gasoline with 30% ethanol content, or E30, in conventional vehicles owned by the state, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Tuesday.

In recent months, the governor's office, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Governors' Biofuels Coalition, and state agencies have been working with the EPA on a request to pilot the use of higher ethanol blends in state vehicles. The pilot program will assess the effects of E15 and E30 blends on "vehicle performance, fuel economy, and emissions control systems" in state-owned vehicles. The fuel used in the pilot program will be supplied by Nebraska ethanol companies.

According to the release, the pilot program is expected to be launched in the coming weeks.

"This demonstration program is designed to evaluate the use of an E-30 ethanol blend in conventional vehicles compared to the same type vehicles operating on E-10 and E-15 blends," said Sarah Caswell, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

"Fuel cost per mile, performance, maintenance and other factors will be included as part of the project. Several engineering consultants from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help provide technical expertise during the duration of the project. Approximately 50 vehicles will be involved in the demonstration program. In addition to the state fueling sites, six Nebraska fuel marketers have agreed to provide access to E-30 fueling sites in the state."

Previously, Ricketts had directed state agencies to order flex fuel vehicles when possible and other vehicles that must be compatible with E15. The state has also switched over fuel pumps from E10 to E15, and agencies also have E85 available.