When you drive up to the gasoline pump in the next few years in Ontario, you’ll be filling up with a little more ethanol.
Canada’s most populous province announced late last week that it is mandating an increase in the ethanol content of gasoline from the current 10 per cent, to an eventual 15 per cent in ‘regular’ grade fuel.
It will be a gradual increase with 11 per cent by 2025, 13 per cent by 2028 and 15 per cent by 2030
A press release says the 15 per cent target is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one megatonne annually, or the “equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road every year”.
According to Syngenta Canada, a division of the multinational biotech and chemical company, 90% of the ethanol used in Ontario, about 1.2 billion litres, is produced in the province, That represents about 110 million bushels of corn or about 3 million metric tonnes of corn destined towards annual ethanol production in the province. That figure represents over a third of the province’s entire annual provincial corn harvest.
Critics of ethanol list lower fuel economy, debate about whether it provides more energy than it takes to produce it, concern about conversion of food crops to fuel crops, more green spaces converted to ethanol cropland, and runoff of fertilizer contributing to algae blooms in lakes and rivers.
In the press release however, Jeff Yurek, provincial Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, says “This change will also help attract investment in ethanol production, create jobs in rural communities and assist the biofuel and agriculture sectors in their long-term economic recovery from COVID-19”.
- Gov’t of Ontario: Nov 26/20: press statement
- Syngenta” Nov 26/20: Ontario to raise ethanol content in gasoline to 15%
- Realagriculture: Nov 26/20: Ontario set to increase required ethanol in fuel to 15% by 2030
- Treehugger: L West: Dec 5/19: The pros and cons of ethanol fuel
- Let’s talk Science: K Levac: Jul 23/19: What are the pros and cons of ethanol biofuel?
- Sierra Club: V Manglik: Aug 18/17: Record breaking dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico