Media contact: Robert Moffitt (651) 269-7561
Obama Returns To A State Moving Toward Cleaner Transportation
SAINT PAUL, MINN.—(February 25, 2014) -- When President Obama brings his “Year of Action” tour to Minnesota on Wednesday, he returns to a state that has made real progress in the area of cleaner fuels, advanced engine technologies and a growing market for alternatives to traditional petroleum fuels.
“Vehicle exhaust is the single largest source of air pollution in Minnesota, so finding alternatives to traditional petroleum fuels is very important, if we want to keep our air clean and our lungs healthy,” said Robert Moffitt, a spokesperson for Twin Cities Clean Cities. “While we are off to a good start, there is still much more to be done to reduce emissions from vehicle exhaust.”
In 2013, sales of E85 and other ethanol blended fuels rose in Minnesota, where there are more E85 retail outlets than any other state and more than 400,000 flex fuel vehicles on the road. A recent Star Tribune article said many of the state’s ethanol producers are in the black, as demand for the cleaner-burning fuel rises and corn prices have dropped. Minnesota has the capacity to produce 1 billion gallons of renewable ethanol every year.
Minnesota is also leading the nation in its policies on biodiesel, primarily refined from soy oil but also from waste grease and inedible corn oil. In 2005, Minnesota became the first in the nation to require a biodiesel blend in nearly all diesel sold here, several other states have since adopted similar polices. The biodiesel blend is scheduled to rise to 10 percent (B10) this summer, up from the current five percent (B5) blend.
Some of the trucks on Minnesota roads today are not using any diesel fuel at all – they are powered by natural gas, a fuel that burns cleaner than any traditional petroleum fuel. DART Transportation, Waste Management, and Dick’s Sanitation are just a few of the companies currently using natural gas vehicles in their fleets. Minnesota-based Schwan's uses propane to fuel 70 percent of its delivery truck fleet, a move that has saved the company millions in fuel costs since making the switch in the 1970s.
While electric vehicles are relatively new to Minnesota, they are quickly making a foothold here. There are electric vehicle charging stations springing up across the state, including two in the Union Station campus where the President will be speaking (on Wacouta Street between 4th and Kellogg, and in the Lot A parking ramp). The Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition is currently working with the National Park Service to install electric vehicle chargers in 11 metro area locations along the Mississippi River.