With the help of a Levelland business, the fuel you're putting in your car could soon be locally grown.
We're talking about ethanol and the Levelland Hockley County Ethanol Company will make its first batch of the alternative fuel product on Thursday.
"Six months from going from being the only employee and now we have a full staff and procedures and to come this far. It's really exciting," said Plant General Manager Sam Sacco. "This Thursday will be the first day that we start grinding."
They'll be grinding corn and lots of it. The shipment of corn that arrived Monday came on a 107 car train taking up more than a mile of track.
"That's 430,000 bushels of corn," Sacco said.
The final product will be ethanol to make E-85 or E-10, domestically produced alternative and renewable fuels. The 85 and 10 stand for the percentage of ethanol in the fuel, the remainder is gasoline.
Simply put, ethanol it's a 200-proof alcohol produced from corn or other grain and it can easily be used as fuel in common engines, and come April you could see it at a gas stations.
Conoco Phillips recently announced they'll be offering ethanol based fuels right here on the South Plains. But what could it cost?
"I've seen some states where they look at ethanol gasoline as a premium because it does raise the octane. And I've seen some states where it's as much as a 20 cent a gallon discount," Sacco said.
So stay tuned for pricing.
Soon the Levelland plant will stop using corn and start using locally grown milo. Sacco says when that happens, for local milo producers, their crops will come full circle.
"Once we're off corn and we're doing milo, the producers will be able to sell their milo to this plant. They'll be able to take the distillers grain that we produce, feed it to their cattle or their cows and turn right around and fill it up with their trucks," he said.
Proponents of the product say, compared to normal gasoline, ethanol based fuels have much less negative impact on the environment. And with the higher octane rating, up to 105, fuel economy may go down, but your car's engine life will increase, in turn increasing the life of your car.
E-10 can be used in any car built since 1980 so you won't have to go out and buy a new "Flex Fuel" vehicle just to use the ethanol based product. It's only with the E-85 fuel that you'll need to have a vehicle built to use Flex Fuel. Flex Fuel compatibility is an option many car companies are offering today.
For more information about ethanol, click here.