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Bushmills Ethanol plant outside Atwater is pictured Wednesday. Lawmakers will decide this year whether gasoline will contain more than 10 percent ethanol. Current federal law limits ethanol in most gasoline to 10 percent, although specially made cars can use fuel with 85 percent ethanol. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson said data from two universities in Iowa and Minnesota shows cars can use E15 without any problems. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Federal officials considering upping ethanol levels


ST. PAUL -- Federal officials have until year's end to decide whether gasoline may contain more than the common 10 percent ethanol.

If that happens, ethanol supporters promise thousands of new jobs for the Minnesota economy and another step toward national energy independence.

"We are not going to kneel at the altar of big oil in this country forever," said Doug Peterson, a former state lawmaker and current Minnesota Farmers union president.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.