With gas prices soaring and jobs continuing to lag, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich along with 30 other state governors are urging president bush to promote renewable fuel legislation.
In a letter to the President the Illinois governor says that by doubling the amount of ethanol used in gasoline it will "provide a logical road map for reducing consumer prices and stimulate rural economies. "
Ethanol is a fuel additive that raises the oxygen content in gasoline, making it burn cleaner. Illinois currently has seven large-scale ethanol plants, including one in Lena, but the debate on the use of ethanol is one of the reasons why a national energy bill has stalled in the Senate.
New York senator Charles Schumer contends that with most of the ethanol plants residing in the Midwest that "gas prices would shoot up by nearly seven cents, due to supply shortages and the fact that the fuel will have to be trucked and barged around the country, making ethanol pricey.”
But that argument local corn growers believe would be short-lived because using more ethanol in gas would decrease the country's dependence on foreign oil and increase the number of ethanol refineries around the country.
It’s a growing debate on an energy bill that should be played out in congress and at the gas pump this year.
The governor also wants the president to adjust the ethanol tax credit that refineries receive. He says the tax credit reduces the amount of federal highway tax funds for Illinois. Blagojevich says by adjusting the credit it will provide an additional $500 million a year in road funds to the state.