Sunday, August 06, 2006

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Promotes E-85 Conversion Kits

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that the state would start testing conversion kits that allow E-85 fuel to be used in vehicles built to run solely on gasoline. Pawlenty said he hopes tests done at Minnesota State-Mankato will lead the way for nationwide use of the kits, which have not been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has expressed concerns about how the kits would affect vehicle emissions, Pawlenty said.``We're going to take that research and use it as the convincing point to get the EPA to embrace, authorize or do their own certification of these kits,'' Pawlenty said. The EPA did not immediately respond to questions seeking comment about Pawlenty's proposal. In a recent letter to the agency, Pawlenty laid out the upsides of broadening the market for the fuel, which contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The kits, which cost between $700 and $1500, will be tested at the university's Center for Automotive Research on a variety of vehicles.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Pawlenty cited Brazil as a country that is weaning its dependency from foreign oil. There, most cars burn either 100 percent ethanol or gas that is 24 percent ethanol. ``The market in Brazil is something we want to learn from,'' he said. In the last session, the Legislature passed a law mandating that all gas sold in Minnesota must contain 20 percent ethanol.