Governor Tom Vilsack traveled to a cornfield east of Des Moines today to accept the keys to an S-U-V that runs on a gasoline mix that’s 85-percent corn-based ethanol. General Motors is letting the state use the Chevy Tahoe for one year and the company will also provide vehicles for the upcoming National Governor’s Conference in Des Moines. Vilsack says it’s another way to push the use of the fuel known as “E-85” across the state. He says today we have approximately 650 state vehicles in the fleet that are E-85 and the goal is to have all non-law enforcement vehicles run on E-85. The legislature approved money in the recent session to help gas stations convert tanks and pumps to handle E-85. Vilsack says they’re now ready to start handing out the money. He says there are approximately 15-hundred tanks in good shape, and they want to expand that number. He says they’re giving stations a two-year time period to take the steps to make the conversion. Another study is out that criticizes ethanol, saying it’s not as efficient as other fuels. Vilsack says the conclusion is flawed. He says, “One of the problems with those studies is that it fails to recognize all the additional biproducts that result from ethanol production. It isn’t enough to focus on the ethanol itself. There’s are a series of biproducts that’re used by multiple industries, that if you took a total look at what ethanol is capable of producing, I don’t think you’d reach that conclusion.” Vilsack says he expects more attempts to discredit ethanol.”You know, it doesn’t surprise me that there’s growing criticism of ethanol, because we’re beginning to make a little dent into the oil uh, uh, production economy,” Vilsack says. The E-85 truck will be used by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and is easily recognizable by the ethanol logos on its side. Vilsack says there are some 50-thousand registered vehicles in Iowa that can burn the E-85 fuel.
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