|Cleaner Air for Florida |
The Florida transportation sector is by far the largest consumer of refined petroleum fuels in Florida, and accounts for about 33% of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, 77% of carbon monoxide emissions, and more than 33% of volatile organic compound emissions. (Source: "Fueling Florida's Future - Strategic Fit of Alternative Fuels in Florida" by the Clean Fuel Florida Advisory Board.) Blending ethanol with gasoline can play an important role in reducing these tailpipe pollutants in Florida. Ethanol, which contains oxygen, improves internal engine fuel combustion, and reduces tailpipe pollutants such as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and particular matter. When mixed at 10% with gasoline (E10) the total fuel mix is more efficient, has better combustibility and translates into cleaner automotive tailpipe emissions, reduced smog formation, and improvement in the quality of the ambient air shed. Furthermore, ethanol is a natural fuel product. It is miscible with water, non-toxic, clean burning, contains no sulphur, nitrogen or heavy metals, and completely biodegradable.
Ethanol would have significant pollution mitigation benefits to the citizens of Hillsborough county, as well as other metropolitan regions of Florida. An improvement in local ambient air quality will allow the Tampa Bay area to maintain its desirability as both a residential community and tourist area. This in turn will help maintain the values of all residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
The tremendous popularity of the Tampa Bay area for new population growth will soon offset the gains achieved by re-powering electric power plants from coal-fired to cleaner burning natural gas-fired. Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay area had been approaching the limits for severe non-attainment for ozone for several years. The recent re-powering of the Tampa Electric Bayside power station from coal to natural gas has alleviated the threat of severe ozone non-attainment status. Consequently, the Tampa Bay area is currently designated by the Federal EPA as an 8 hour ozone non-attainment area. This means that all gasoline in the Tampa region must be Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure of 7.8 psi. However, the reclassification by EPA of Tampa as a severe ozone non-attainment area may be imminent, with continued population growth and increased automobile gasoline consumption. This would then require all RFG in Tampa to contain an oxygenate such as fuel ethanol.
Looking to the near future, additional air pollutant reductions will be needed to prevent Hillsborough County from becoming an EPA severe ozone non-attainment area. By Tampa voluntarily opting to blend an oxygenate such as fuel ethanol in all region's gasoline, the control measures become preventative to avoid EPA reclassification of Tampa as severe non-attainment status. Phoenix, Arizona is an example of a city voluntarily opting for an oxygenate blending mandate as a prevention to reaching severe non-attainment status.
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