Hawaii Approves Ethanol Use Mandate

Hawaii’s Governor Linda Lingle signed new administrative rules to implement a 10-year-old law mandating that ethanol be added to gasoline sold in Hawaii. The governor signed the rules during a membership meeting of the Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce where business executives from the island’s ethanol and sugar industries gathered to celebrate the adoption of the rules.

Honolulu, Hawaii – September 28, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The new regulations call for at least 85 percent of Hawaii’s gasoline to contain 10 percent ethanol beginning in April 2006. An exemption is allowed if competitively priced ethanol is not available, or in the case of undue hardship. “Implementing ethanol blending rules is another step toward our commitment to creating greater energy self-sufficiency for our state,” said Governor Lingle, who signed legislation earlier this year requiring that by the year 2020 at least 20 percent of Hawaii’s electricity will be produced from renewable resources. “Renewable energy sources like ethanol have the potential to offer significant benefits to Hawaii’s economy and energy security, and it’s imperative for Hawaii to continue to move in this direction.” The rules reflect a long process that involved representatives from all segments of the energy sector, agriculture community, and environmental groups that culminated in a formal public hearing conducted on August 12, 2004. Many of the testifiers at the hearing commented on the importance of ethanol in moving Hawaii toward renewable fuels, reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported petroleum, and diversifying and strengthening Hawaii’s agricultural sector. Several testifiers said that it has been 10 years since the original law was passed and “it’s time to get on with it.” “Hawaii is one of a handful of states without ethanol fuel use or production, yet study after study has shown that Hawaii has the potential to produce fuel for use locally as well as for export.” said Ted Liu, director, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, whose department oversaw the development and public input of the new rules. According to Liu, it is estimated that at least 40 million gallons of ethanol per year will be required to meet the mandate. Studies have pegged Hawaii’s ethanol production potential at 90 million gallons per year in the short-term and over 400 million gallons per year as a mature industry. Ethanol-blended fuels are widely used in the United States and are approved for use by all automakers. It is estimated that 30 percent of all gasoline used in the United States this year will be blended with ethanol. In many areas of California, Connecticut, New York, Minnesota, and other states, a significant portion of the gasoline contains ethanol. “Hawaii is now the second state, along with Minnesota, to require 10 percent ethanol-blended gasoline, said Bob Dinneen, President of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which is the ethanol industry’s main lobby group. “Just as Minnesota has, Hawaii will reap the rewards of implementing a forward-looking energy policy. New ethanol plants and production will spur Hawaii’s economy and ethanol use will keep Hawaii’s air clean and beautiful for future generations.” More information http://www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/ert/ethanol.html
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