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Michigan corn growers want Congress to increase ethanol content in gasoline

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A push to increase ethanol content in gasoline is getting support from Michigan corn growers.

Congressional legislation would raise the percentage of ethanol in gas to 15% year round. Currently, there are federal regulations that limit ethanol content to 10% during certain periods of the year.

Jim Zook is the executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers association.

He says Congressional action would help farmers, ethanol producers and gas retailers plan for the future.

“Surety is the biggest issue that everybody wants in their life,” said Zook.

Expanding ethanol content would be welcome news to Saginaw County farmer Don Morse. About 40% of his corn crop is earmarked for the ethanol market.

Morse says changing the law now, will help him plan for next year’s crop, amid escalating costs for fuel and fertilizer.

“For next year, this legislation (we) can know there is a place for the corn to go,” said Morse.

There are some concerns being raised against increasing the ethanol content in gasoline.

For example, AAA warns higher ethanol content may damage some vehicles. Also critics say expanding the use of E-15 will drive the production of more corn which causes more plowing and leads to waterways being polluted by agricultural runoff.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.