Sen. Duckworth, USDA secretary, promotes the federal biofuels program

LE ROY, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Federal officials are promoting a plan they believe will help save the environment and consumers’ money at the pump.

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and US Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) on Tuesday announced a $500 million investment in biofuel technology at a gas station in Le Roy. Biofuel uses both corn and soy to create a fuel that can be used in vehicles.

Investing in biofuel technology is a Part of the Anti-Inflation Act. The money will help 1,000 gas stations to offer biofuels.

“The aim of this federal policy is to spread gas pumps like this across the board,” said Vilsack.

Biofuel is usually cheaper than petroleum based gas. The gas station that Vilsack and Duckworth visited had an ethanol 85 option that was over a dollar cheaper than regular unleaded gasoline. Only cars designed to use flex fuel can use it.

Many gas stations also offer a lead-free ethanol blending option. At the same gas station, the mixture was 20 cents cheaper, and experts say that any car made after 2001 can use this fuel.

Farming experts say a bushel of corn can produce 3 gallons of ethanol.

“It was just a really efficient way to get the most out of a bushel of corn,” said Marty Marr of the Illinois Corn Growers’ Association.

Duckworth pointed out that not only can Illinois drivers use biofuels, but farmers can also export their crops to sell in other states and countries for biofuel.

“I want us to lead the world by selling them good American-grown ethanol that we’re going to sell to the rest of the world, instead of importing and buying oil from countries like Saudi Arabia and stuff like that,” Duckworth said.

And agricultural experts have found ways to make biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a process called carbon capture and sequestration.

“We can actually start putting carbon back into the earth that we’ve extracted through petroleum products,” Duckworth said. Sen. Duckworth, USDA secretary, promotes the federal biofuels program

Sarah Y. Kim

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