Ethanol: Pump it up

Minnesota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2007  | March 2007 issue

As recently as 2000, the state was consuming more ethanol than it was producing. Over the past half-dozen years, that has flip-flopped in a big way, according to a February analysis by the state Department of Agriculture.

The report showed that ethanol production in the state jumped from about 220 million gallons in 2000 to 550 million gallons last year. This year, production is expected to hit 620 million gallons. Still, much more is expected: As of January, five new ethanol plants were under construction, and the state projects that ethanol production could top 1 billion gallons in 2008.

Ethanol consumption in the state, on the other hand, has plateaued at about 250 to 260 million gallons since 2001. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has floated a proposal to mandate that all gasoline sold in the state contain 20 percent ethanol by 2013, up from the current 10 percent, which was the first such ethanol mandate in the nation.

Ronald A. Wirtz