Wisconsin lawmaker introduces biofuels bill

A Wisconsin State Senator has proposed legislation that would make it easier for the state’s retailers to offer E15 motor fuel.

Republican Joan Ballweg is the Chairperson for the Senate Agriculture and Tourism Committee.  She says, “This is just coming out right now. It’s something that has been in the works for the last couple of years, and another way that agriculture can provide our energy infrastructure.”

Ballweg tells Brownfield this is very important for Wisconsin, which has several successful ethanol plants.  She says the bill if passed, it would provide funding and incentives to expand the availability of renewable fuel. “Money for our current fuel stations, that they can do these upgrades because they have to do some changes at their pumps and, it would also say that anyone new that is building, that you put in the technology so that you can get to 15%.”

Ballweg says her bill would not take any other fuel options away from consumers but would give them the option to use higher ethanol blends in more locations.  The bill is being circulated for co-sponsorship at the Capitol.

Wisconsin is one of eight Midwestern states that petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency in early 2022 for a waiver allowing year-round E15 use, but the agency has not acted on the request.

AUDIO: Senator Joan Ballweg discusses her ethanol bill with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

  • The cost for retailers to add E15 is overestimated. The question some may ask, is E15 or even E20 safe for current infrastructure and vehicles on the road today. I say yes but a little education is needed. If E15 poses an issue in modern vehicles or current retail infrastructure, I often ask if premium gasoline is approved. Premium has far greater variation of aromatic hydrocarbons and will cause more damage to seals, hoses, and plastics than that of simply adding a little more ethanol to current E10. If anyone disagrees with this statement, I will ask to see the data and I mean the data regarding damage caused by varying aromatics in gasoline. There is no data because UL and others have no test fuel requirements to do so.

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