Do not Expect 2009's Mandated increase in renewable-fuels use to spark a proliferation of E85 pumps.

Nearly a quarter of the additional biofuels volume has been “carved out” to handle biodiesel production, experts say.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act, which escalates the total renewable fuel content in gasoline to 36 billion gallons (164 billion L) by 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announces the standard for next year: 11.1 billion gallons (50.5 billion L), up 2.4% from last year's total of about 9 billion gallons (41 billion L).

The increase would seem tailor-made to update an infrastructure where fewer than 2,000 E85 pumps are available to serve a fleet comprising some 6 million vehicles capable of burning the cut-rate fuel — an 85:15 blend of ethanol and gasoline.

The national average per-gallon price of E85 in November was $1.86, $0.25 less than regular-grade gasoline that features just 10% ethanol, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.

But about 24% of the incremental renewable fuels expected to enter the pipeline in 2009 is reserved for biodiesel, says Matt Hartwig, spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Assn.

The development appears timely. While Toyota Motors Sales U.S.A. Inc. is rethinking plans for a diesel-powered Tundra pickup and Sequoia SUV, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC remain on track to introduce diesel-powered light-duty fullsize pickups.