USDA Secretary Mike Johanns told state and local leaders to keep an eye on a day when ethanol overtakes oil at the gas pumps in the U.S.
Speaking at a meeting of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, Johanns promoted emerging cellulosic ethanol technology, in which ethanol is produced from sources other than corn, such as wood chips, switchgrass, and corn stalks.
"I believe the time has come to bring renewable energy into the mainstream of American thinking and American technology," Johanns says.
Johanns also says that more research is required in order to make cellulosic ethanol an efficient alternative.
Plants in Brazil have made ethanol from switchgrass and other plants which can be produced more efficiently than corn.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Tuesday that if ethanol is to be the fuel of the future in America, it will have to be made from sources more efficient than current corn breeds.