TOKYO, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Niigata Prefecture in Japan has pioneered the sales of a mixture of gasoline and bioethanol made from rice for animal feed, local media said on Saturday.
The Mainichi Daily News newspaper said that bioethanol, produced from brown rice and blended with gasoline at a ratio of up to 3 percent, makes a mixture that "is equivalent to regular gasoline both in quality and mileage, and will be available in a similar price range."
The new biofuel will be initially sold at 19 gas stations in the Niigata Prefecture, the paper said.
"The project will also promote effective utilization of rice paddies that are left uncultivated due to the government's rice-reduction program," Mainichi Daily quoted the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations Zennoh (JA Zennoh) as saying.
JA Zennoh is expecting annual sales of about 33,000 kiloliters of the rice-based biofuel.
Japanese oil companies started selling gasoline blended with bioethanol in 2007 in some retail markets in the country, but none of the mixtures was previously made with the use of rice.
Japan's annual gasoline demand is estimated at 60 million kiloliters.