Editorial: Pawlenty’s goal good news for state’s farmers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s latest goal is good news for Minnesota farmers.

Pawlenty on Monday announced a goal of doubling the ethanol in every gallon of Minnesota gasoline by 2010. He plans to ask the Legislature next year to raise the required ethanol content in gas from 10 percent to 20 percent. Pawlenty said he would delay the requirement until the end of the decade or when at least half the new vehicles offered for sale in the state include warranties for using fuel with 20 percent ethanol, whichever comes sooner.

It is about time we got serious about the commitment to renewable fuels and the environment. Many experts say ethanol burns cleaner than normal gasoline.

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It’s good to see Minnesota leading the way in this commitment. Minnesota is the only state that now mandates the use of ethanol in gasoline.

Of course, there is resistance on the part of major automakers, who advocate the governor should instead consider offering tax breaks or other incentives to people who buy cars and trucks with existing fuel-saving technology. The initiative may require significant design changes to automobiles, but they are going to need to be made sometime. We cannot continue to rely on foreign oil for our fuel supply.

If Pawlenty’s plan goes through, farmers stand to gain. Currently, 400 million gallons of ethanol are produced here, although only 240 million are consumed in Minnesota. That results in 150 million bushels of corn being used out of 970 million harvested in the state a year ago.

It’s simply a great opportunity for Minnesota agriculture, and a goal we hope to see come to fruition.