There's a lot of room between E10 and E85, says Alexander Karsner.
Karsner, the assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy, says that there needs to be a greater variety of gas-ethanol blends. E10 has only 10 percent ethanol, and in some states E10 contains only 2 percent to 3 percent ethanol, he said during a meeting with reporters at the Dow Jones Alternative Energy Innovations conference taking place in Redwood City, Calif.
In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush called for more research into alternative fuels. A month later, he took time for a photo op with this ethanol racecar at a North Carolina biotech company.
On the other end of the spectrum there is E85. E85, however, is sold in only one-third of 1 percent of gas stations nationwide. (E10 can fit into conventional pumps.) If forced to carry more E85, gas stations would figure out how to adjust their supply chains to handle it, but it might be easier to concoct new blends.
In Brazil, for instance, the lowest blend is E22, which contains 22 percent ethanol. E15 can be inserted, and pumped out of, conventional gas pumps in the U.S.
"Can you grow that market more with intermediate blends?" Karsner asked rhetorically. He then stated: "It is not going to be just E10 and E85."