(Posted Wed. Oct 24th, 2012)
Oct. 24: State corn associations across the country are working diligently to make the increased use of higher ethanol blends a reality through programs to put the necessary infrastructure in place. Laying the groundwork for a shift toward greater use of the domestically produced, environmentally friendly biofuel, a wide variety of programs currently underway will help fuel tomorrow with E15 and midlevel blends while providing easier E85 access for the eight million flex-fuel vehicles already on the road today.
Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota all have efforts to increase the use of higher ethanol blends in their respective states by helping fund the installation of the necessary fuel pumps. From programs that completely support the installation of E85 pumps for retailers looking to convert multiple locations to programs that help cover the cost of signage highlighting ethanol options, these programs provide not only infrastructure for retailers but also choice for consumers.
While there are approximately 162,000 service stations nationwide, only 3,000 presently offer E85 fuel for flex-fuel vehicles and few offer the choice of E15, which was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in vehicles model year 2001 or newer. By increasing access to a wider variety of ethanol blends, these state programs simultaneously increase the options readily available to consumers.
Through two additional campaigns, the American Ethanol partnership with NASCAR® and the Blend Your Own program, state associations are joining with national groups representing corn farmers and ethanol producers to educate consumers about ethanol and increase awareness of the available options.
The American Ethanol partnership with NASCAR®, which was formed in 2011, brings together the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy and state associations to increase public awareness of ethanol and dispel myths about the renewable, sustainable fuel. For the past two seasons, every car in every race in all three NASCAR® national series has been fueled by Sunoco Green E15, an ethanol blend. With more than three million miles logged already, NASCAR® fans across the country are seeing the performance and reliability of ethanol.
Multiple states, along with NCGA, also support the Blend Your Own program, a joint campaign conducted by the American Coalition for Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Association. More commonly known as BYO, the program also helps retailers integrate the changes necessary to dispense higher ethanol blends as well as providing information to consumers interested in locating stations offering E85 for their flex-fuel vehicles.