June 10, 2011

Indiana Corn Marketing Council Announces Grants for Fuel Retailers

A new program launched by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) looks to give Hoosier consumers a choice at the pump when it comes to purchasing ethanol blends.

The Flex Fuel Pump Program, unveiled during the Indiana Ethanol Forum on June 9 in Indianapolis, offers cost-share dollars to fuel retailers looking to install flex fuel pumps that allow consumers to make the choice as to what blend of ethanol they want to use to fuel their flex-fuel vehicles.

“Hoosier corn farmers are working to support our state’s growing ethanol industry through our corn checkoff program,” said David Howell, ICMC vice president and farmer from Middletown, Ind. “Indiana’s ethanol industry is a driver of the state’s economy by not only providing a valuable market to our state’s corn crop, but also adding jobs to our workforce and significant contributions to our tax base, as well as improving our country’s energy security.”

Flex fuel pumps (also known as blender pumps) allow consumers the flexibility of choosing a variety of fuel blends, including blends of 20 percent (E20), 30 percent (E30), and even 50 percent (E50) ethanol-to-gasoline. Drivers of flex fuel vehicles can use up to an 85 percent (E85) blend in their cars and trucks.

“Our corn farmers understand the need to develop markets for environmentally-friendly, renewable, American-made ethanol blended fuels that provide consumers with a true choice at the fuel pump,” said Greg Noble, ICMC biofuels director. “This program is designed to add more of these pumps across the state over the next year.”

Noble said the new program benefits the consumer by giving a choice of quality and price at the pump when it comes to ethanol-blended fuel. It also allows fuel retailers to expand their fuel line-up helping them better serve their customers with flex-fuel vehicles.

The Flex Fuel Pump Program offers fuel retailers grants up to 50 percent or $20,000 (whichever is less) toward the purchase of a flex fuel pump, hardware and storage tank or the conversion of an existing pump to a blender pump. The program is open to both new and existing stations in Indiana.  

Currently, fuel dispenser manufacturer Dresser Wayne and OES, a Gilbarco supplier for Indiana and Kentucky, are also working with ICMC to support the program through equipment discounts to fuel retailers that qualify for the grants.

ICMC’s Flex Fuel Pump Program also dovetails nicely with the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that is currently offering incentives to fuel station owners to install blender pumps. The USDA program, which has a deadline of June 15, 2011, has a goal of installing 10,000 flex fuel pumps nationwide within the next five years.

“This is an exciting opportunity for fuel retailers, not only because they have the opportunity to obtain partial funding for these new pumps through ICMC, but also take advantage of USDA Rural Development’s current program that offers similar incentives to install flex fuel pumps,” said Noble. “Add to that the discounts on the pumps and installation offered by partnering fuel pump manufacturers and suppliers, and it’s a great time for fuel retailers to consider adding flex fuel pumps to their stations.”

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