Report: Illinois could reduce carbon pollution with E15

By Chicago E15 | April 28, 2015

A new analysis produced by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s principal research economist, Steffen Mueller, found that giving Illinois consumers more access to cleaner fuel options, such as E15 (gasoline with 15 percent ethanol blend), would provide significant environmental benefits – reducing carbon pollution from Illinois by up to 663,646 tons per year.  E15 is a cleaner burning, high octane, high performance fuel that also costs about 5 cents less per gallon compared to regular gasoline.

Because it improves engine performance and burns with fewer emissions, E15 has been adopted throughout professional auto racing.  While regular gasoline contains about 10 percent ethanol as a way to deliver added octane and limit emissions, E15 fuel contains 15 percent renewable, American made ethanol – helping to create jobs in Illinois and lower our dependence on foreign oil.

With the E15 Clean Air Ordinance, clean burning E15 is expected to become more widely available to consumers alongside regular gasoline – giving consumers an additional choice and the opportunity to save money each time they fill up.   

Key Findings:

Illinois motorists consume about 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline per year, nearly all of which is E10.  The analysis shows that if consumers in Illinois had access to and chose to fill up with E15 gasoline, emissions of carbon dioxide pollution across the state would be reduced by 663,646 tons each year.  These savings are equivalent to taking about 139,715 passenger vehicles off the road in Illinois every year.

The report shows that a gallon of E15 saves 1.26 g of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per megajoule compared with E10 (gasoline with 10 percent ethanol blend). CO2e includes carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

Mueller’s conclusions demonstrate that switching to a motor fuel with a greater quantity of homegrown renewable fuels would result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The 15 Clean Air Ordinance — which would give consumers a choice of higher-blend motor fuels — would create a better future for our climate while protecting American jobs and our energy security.

The E15 Clean Air Ordinance is supported by a broad coalition of groups from Argonne National Laboratory to the Environmental Law and Policy Center because it promotes cleaner, higher-blend renewable fuels. Passing this ordinance is a smart and effective way for the Mayor and City Council to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Chicago.