Requirements are a minimum 5% blend of biodiesel for all vehicle diesel fuel sold in the city limits, and gasoline is required to contain at least 10% ethanol.
With this effort, the City is helping create demand for thousands of gallons of renewable transportation fuels, in order to spur market development of large-scale Oregon based biofuel production facilities to meet that demand.Is this a good idea? There have been a lot of newspaper articles here in Portland that have not really arrived at a conclusion, and the consensus seems to be that the city is taking this action before all the facts are in. I don't really know. Here's a UC Berkeley press release from January that concludes:
Producing ethanol from corn uses much less petroleum than producing gasoline. However, the UC Berkeley researchers point out that there is still great uncertainty about greenhouse gas emissions and that other environmental effects like soil erosion are not yet quantified.
"Despite the uncertainty, it appears that ethanol made from corn is a little better - maybe 10 or 15 percent - than gasoline in terms of greenhouse gas production."
The people who are saying ethanol is bad are just plain wrong. But it isn't a huge victory - you wouldn't go out and rebuild our economy around corn-based ethanol.
"The transition would be worth it, the authors point out, if the ethanol is produced not from corn but from woody, fibrous plants: cellulose."
There isn't much corn grown in Oregon (I think), so I imagine most of the ethanol produced in OR will come from (as the city's press release says) "oilseed crops like canola and mustard seed, that can be grown as rotational crops by Oregon farmers."
Heck, I don't even know if my car, a 2000 Ford Saturn SL1, will run on 10% ethanol. I suppose it will, or they wouldn't be passing this ordinance. Can any car that runs on 100% gasoline run on a 90-10 gasoline/ethanol mixture.