California Steps Up Use of Ethanol

by : Anthony Fontanelle

The call for steps to curb the threat of global warming has led California to take aggressive steps to promote the use of environment-friendly vehicles. Known as the hotbed in the United States of Asian car manufacturers, the state is known for its take on the reduction of greenhouse gas emission and the promotion of environment-friendly and renewable alternative fuels.

Recently, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted in favor of reformulating gasoline that is sold in the state. The event took place at the board's meeting last June 14 in Fresno. The "clean air agency" voted to increase the amount of bioethanol by ten percent on gasoline sold in California.

The step taken by CARB is widely supported by ethanol as well as petroleum producers. State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is known to strongly support steps taken to promote alternative fuel which in turn reduces the greenhouse gases emitted by road-bound vehicles.

As a result of CARB's decision, it is expected that the state government as well as environmental organizations are going to push for the implementation of the 10 percent increase in bioethanol content of California gasoline. This step will boost business for alternative fuel producers which ultimately benefits farmers who grow the crops from which bioethanol is made from.

"By incorporating a larger percentage of less expensive, renewable, clean- burning, low carbon ethanol into California's gasoline blend, consumers, the environment and the economy all benefit," says Bill Jones, the Chairman and Founder of Pacific Ethanol Inc. "Governor Schwarzenegger has made California a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and today's action by the California Air Resources Board builds on that record of success. This decision is a testament to the good things that result when the business community, government and environmental stakeholders work together."

Governor Schwarzenegger, earlier this year, called for steps like this to be taken by the state's legislative body. And with this new development, it seems that not even a highly efficient brake system assembly like those found at can stop the increasing popularity of bioethanol use in California.

In the past, car manufacturers are being criticized for producing numerous flex-fuel vehicles when there are very few refilling stations in the country which offers bioethanol. In fact, a study found out that 99 percent of flex fuel vehicles in the country are running on pure gasoline.

With the step being undertaken by California, the use of bioethanol can be promoted gradually. When enough installations can provide E85 fuel, it is expected that the state will once again increase the amount of ethanol on California gasoline.

"This new model for gasoline reformulation will allow a blend of up to 10 percent ethanol by volume to be sold in California. Until this landmark decision was made, California's gasoline blend contained one of the lowest percentages of ethanol in the country," says Larry Gross, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Alta Biofuels. "This action will increase the market for ethanol by 600 million gallons a year in essence increasing fuel supply by over 4 percent which will have a very positive impact on total fuel supply."

Aside from benefiting the environment, the increase in the amount of ethanol on California gasoline is expected to lower its price. This is because ethanol is 65 cents cheaper than gasoline.