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Increased Demand for Alternative Fuels

Andrew Norton

Currently in Michigan there are only four fuel stations across the state that sell E85 (a gasoline and ethanol blend). E85 is normally made from corn which our state produces in abundance. An increase in the demand for this fuel is causing a nationwide increase from 500 stations currently selling E85 to 2,500 by the end of 2006. E85 burns cleaner than gasoline, boosts engine performance, and sometimes can actually save you money at the pump. However, the cost differences in a gallon of E85 vs. gasoline are usually diminished by the fact that engines burn E85 quicker than they do gasoline. The two best things about E85 is that it would decrease our dependence on foreign oil and help farmers by increasing the demand for their product (corn).

While on the subject of alternative fuels, it is great to note that there is a very strong possibility for Michigan's first soy biodiesel plant to be built in Bangor. The official word on whether or not the plant will locate in Bangor should come at the end of this month or early February. This would be another boon to about 60 farmers – the target number of farmers needed to supply the soybeans. There were 49 farmers signed on as of December. I wish them good luck!