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New study touts environmental, health benefits of E15 fuel

Following a call from Alderman Ed Burke (14th) for most city gas stations to make E15 gasoline available for consumers, a new study touted the health and environmental benefits of the fuel.

The study from Life Cycle Associates, based on the results of work conducted by independent researchers at institutions including Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, determined a switch to E15 fuel from regular gasoline would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and result in a subsequent drop in cancer risk.

E15 gas contains 15 percent ethanol, while regular gas contains just 10 percent.

“The most significant changes from a change ... to E15 include a reduction in cancer risk from vehicle exhaust and evaporative emissions, a reduction in the potential to form ozone or photochemical smog, and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” according to the study. 

A City Council committee last month held a hearing on an ordinance sponsored by Burke that would have required most city gas stations to sell E15, but the item was deferred to allow for further consideration of the issue. 

Ed. note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that research was conducted by independent parties at Argonne and UIC, not by the institutions themselves.