While the nation braces to see if it works, people who support renewable energy are hoping Americans learn from the spill. The American Coalition for Ethanol weighs in on the future of renewable fuels and the roadblocks producers face... When trying to expand.
For nearly three months, oil's been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. And while some are concerned about deep sea drilling, the Vice President of the American Coalition For Ethanol says the leak poses a bigger question: How can Americans decrease our use of oil?
“I don't think people realize as big as that spill is, if you took all that oil and were able to make it into gas, it would supply the nation for 4 or 5 hours,” Lamberty said.
Ron Lamberty says ethanol can help fuel the country. In South Dakota, 16 Ethanol plants produce more than a billion gallons a year. Lamberty says the industry could make even more, if more people would use it, and if the government allowed higher blends for standard vehicles.
"There's limitations right now on how much ethanol we can use, so even if people did want to switch, it would be tough for them to switch to more than we're already using,” Lamberty said.
The U-S department of energy says any vehicle can use gasoline that's 10% ethanol, but you need to have a flex fuel vehicle to legally use any other blend. And the Environmental Protection Agency delayed a decision on letting all cars use the higher ethanol. But producers hope that will soon change.
“Ultimately, what we'd like to see if people be able to make those choices themselves, and if you don't like ethanol, that's ok, don't use it,” Lamberty said.
Lamberty says if federal agencies approve more widespread use for all drivers, ethanol producers can fill a larger need.
The EPA says it'll wait until this fall to decide whether standard car engines can handle E-15 gasoline. This is the second time the EPA's delayed making that decision.