Hawaii Ethanol mandate to be repealed

Source: By Rick Daysog, Hawaii News Now • Posted: Monday, May 4, 2015

MOILIILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -Hawaii’s ethanol mandate is about to become nothing more than fumes.

Since 2006, the state has required most of the gasoline sold here to contain 10 percent ethanol. But now lawmakers are set to repeal the requirement.

The law was intended to boost a fledging biofuels market, which some estimated would grow into a $100 million-a-year industry employing more than 200 people. But that never happened.

“The industry it was supposed to create didn’t show up and so today we’re taking a second look and say maybe we can save a few bucks,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, chairman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee.

Whether consumers will save money is still not clear but critics of ethanol predict lower gas costs because we won’t be paying to import the ethanol.

“It certainly cost less to bring in a gallon of gasoline than to bring in ethanol then blend it,” said former gasoline station owner Bill Green.

Added Lee:

“We hear a lot of stories about folks who don’t get good mileage with this fuel mix so they spend more in the long term to get where they want to go.”

The environmental benefits of ethanol have also come under question in recent years as cleaner forms of transportation have emerged.

“Back when this required to include ethanol in gasoline was first created, there weren’t hydrogen cars, there weren’t the electric cars that we’re seeing take off today and it was the only option,” said Lee.

It’s an option that’s now being taken off the table.