Indiana governor Mitch Daniels has signed a bill that could raise the use of E85, a blend of 15% petroleum-based gasoline and 85% ethanol, on campuses and school grounds throughout the state. Indiana Senator Ron Alting said that by increasing the availability of E85 on school grounds and campuses, more flex fuel and biodiesel vehicles could be built-in the fleets used to transport students and driven by faculty.

House Bill 1193 could also save schools money by giving them access to state tax breaks and incentives currently offered for those who produce and/or use biofuels.

“Grants to invest in E85 pumps and fuel tanks are currently available to retailers and local governments,” Alting said. “This legislation would extend those grant opportunities to school corporations and universities so they can install E85 fuel tanks on campuses.”

Businesses like Crystal Flash Petroleum in Marion County and Family Express Corp. in LaPorte County have already taken advantage of the grants which became available last year and have since provided more than $135,000 for E85 sales, according to Alting. Funding for these grants comes from corn check-off funds and has no cost to Indiana taxpayers.

Indiana’s office of Energy and Defense Development says that E85 is a clean burning, high octane fuel derived from renewable sources produced in the US, thus decreasing the country’s demand on foreign sources of energy. E85 reduces the harmful emissions found in gasoline while increasing the fuel’s octane rating.

“There is a growing opportunity for our state to be one of the nation’s leaders in promoting the use of renewable fuels,” Alting said. “Hoosiers are some of the country’s largest producers of corn and soybeans – products used to create biofuels.”