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Ag secretary hopes Michigan visit will fuel ethanol interest

Adventure George
Sec. Vilsak says tests have shown that fuel that's 15 percent ethanol, which is often made from corn, is safe for use in vehicles from model years 2001 and later. Critics, including the Detroit Three, disagree.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Michigan today to promote the use of biofuels. He appeared at the NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, south of Jackson.

Vilsack says the fact that NASCAR vehicles are now running on fuel that’s 15 percent ethanol shows that other cars should run on it, too. He says biofuels are more environmentally responsible that petroleum-based fuel.

"It is also I think an opportunity for us to bring wealth to the United States, as opposed to sending wealth to a country that is unstable and doesn’t necessarily agree with us."

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved gasoline blends of up to 15 percent ethanol for use in cars and light trucks from model years 2001 and later. Critics – including the Detroit Three automakers – say E-15 could damage vehicles and reduce performance.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Radio’s Director of Enterprise & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.