Exclusive Use of E15 in Minnesota Would Eliminate Tons of CO2: Analysis

Source: By Michael Schneider, OPIS  • Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2015

An analysis by the University of Illinois at Chicago has found that making E15 the new regular unleaded fuel in Minnesota would eliminate 358,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association said this week.

The organization said Monday that in response to a query it initiated, Steffen Mueller, the school’s principal research economist, reported that a gallon of E15 saves 1.26 grams of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per megajoule over regular E10. CO2e includes carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.

Annual gasoline consumption in Minnesota averages 2.4 billion gal, according to the organization, so if that total were to be converted to E15 from E10, CO2e savings in the state would total 358,000 metric tons, Mueller said.

Using EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, this would amount to eliminating 75,368 passenger vehicles/year from Minnesota’s roads, the organization said.

“With the use of E15 approved for all light-duty vehicles model year 2001 and newer (which is over 80% of the vehicles on the road), it is clear that the best path toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota is by making E15 the new regular fuel,” said Tim Rudnicki, the organization’s executive director.

By comparing E15 to gasoline that contains no ethanol, the state’s CO2e savings would total 1.07 million metric tons annually, according to the organization, the same as removing 225,895 vehicles from Minnesota’s roads annually.

The analysis was based on a life cycle basis that includes emissions incurred during the production of ethanol including fuel feedstock origination (corn growing), feedstock conversion at refineries and combustion in a vehicle.

Access to E15 in Minnesota has steadily increased in recent months, the organization said.

“Today, there are 18 stations in Minnesota — of which 11 are in the Twin Cities metro area — that offer E15, with several more stations expected to begin offering E15 in the coming months,” it said.