Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced on Monday a plan to reduce state gas consumption in the government vehicle fleet by 50 percent, according to news sources. The plan also calls for a doubling of ethanol levels in gasoline to 20 percent in the state. The proposal would reduce gas consumption by state vehicles by 50 percent by 2015, and petroleum-based diesel fuel 25 percent by that date. Pawlenty said the state would achieve reductions through a combination of steps, including increased use of alternative fuels, increased fuel efficiency of the state fleet by purchasing “hybrid” and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and increased use of electronic government activities. The 20 percent ethanol mandate would take effect when 50 percent or more of new model vehicles are warrantied for such a fuel, or by 2010, whichever occurs first. Foreign countries like Brazil already use ethanol blends, with E-100 used in about 40 percent of that country’s cars. The remaining vehicles use blends of 24 percent ethanol with 76 percent gasoline. The governor cited a research report from Minnesota State University that showed there were no drivability or material compatibility problems experienced by 15 vehicles of various years, makes and models using ethanol with a 30 percent blend. The plan will have to pass the Minnesota legislature in the fall.
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