Letter to Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition And Forestry, Chairman and Ranking Member Tom Harkin, and Saxby Chambliss

Joined by a bipartisan group of 12 senators, Amy Klobuchar today pushed to give consumers greater access to home-grown E-85 fuel, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Of the 170,000 gasoline stations in the country, fewer than 1,200 sell E-85; Minnesota alone supports over 300 of them. Further, there are six million flexible fuel vehicles on the road today across the country but many parts of the country still do not have E-85 pumps. The senators argue that installing more pumps would boost rural America's income and give consumers greater energy independence.

"Minnesota is the nation's E-85 leader when it comes to the number of pumps and gallons sold - we have roughly a quarter of the pumps in the country," said Klobuchar. "Our state knows from experience that this is a win win for both farmers and drivers. We are at the start of this energy revolution and the possibilities for success are endless if we have the resources to support it."

"NCGA applauds Senator Klobuchar's leadership on renewable fuels and her efforts to establish more E85 pumps across this country. Bringing ethanol to the consumers is a vital part of building a strong biofuels industry," said Ken McCauley, President of the National Corn Growers Association.

In a letter to the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee chairs, the Senators asked that the 2007 farm bill provide assistance to install more E-85 gasoline pumps. Joining Senator Klobuchar in sending the letter are Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Kerry (D-MA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Barack Obama (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), and George Voinovich (R-OH).

A copy of the letter is below:

March 30, 2007

The Honorable Tom Harkin, Chairman The Honorable Saxby Chambliss, Ranking Member Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman and Senator Chambliss,

Please consider including in the 2007 farm bill provisions aimed at increasing the availability of 85 percent ethanol fuel, or E-85.

Ethanol is a value-added farm product. In the 2006-2007 marketing year, the ethanol industry will purchase more than 2 billion bushels of corn and contribute nearly $10 billion to farm income.

However, farmers have not yet reaped the full benefit of E-85 sales because E-85 is not yet widely available. Of about 170,000 gas stations in the country, fewer than 1200 sell E-85, despite the fact that there are more than 6 million flexible fuel vehicles on the road today. The farm bill has traditionally provided support for farmers and rural businesses in marketing value-added agricultural products; it therefore falls within the scope of the farm bill to enhance E-85 marketing opportunities by providing support for expanded sales infrastructure.

E-85 provides our most promising near-term opportunity for farmers to contribute to our nation's energy security. In a flexible fuel vehicle, every ten-gallon fill-up can be more than 8 gallons ethanol, making ethanol not just an additive, but a true replacement for gasoline. In fact, in 2006, ethanol offset the need for 170 million barrels of imported oil, keeping $11 billion in rural America.

We therefore respectfully urge the Committee to include provisions to enhance marketing opportunities for E-85 in the in the 2007 farm bill.


Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chris Bond (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Kerry (D-MA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Barack Obama (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), and George Voinovich (R-OH).

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