Iowa funds blender pumps

By Erin Voegele | August 04, 2008
On June 26, Iowa's Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Board approved 21 new awards totaling $777,600 for E85 and biodiesel retail and terminal infrastructure. The grants were awarded to 17 companies, three of which will install ethanol blender pumps. These three companies are Popkes Car Care Center Inc. in Rock Rapids, Iowa; Oak Street Station LLC in Inwood, Iowa; and Galva Holstein Ag LLC in Galva and Holstein, Iowa.

According to Galva Holstein Ag General Manager Delayne Johnson, his company wouldn't have installed the blender pumps at this time if grant money wasn't available to help cover the cost. At press time, he expected the pump at the company's station in Galva to be ready for use by late August. The pump at the station in Holstein was slated to be operational in September. "We feel the pumps will give more diverse options to consumers," Johnson said. "We also think it will allow people to use more ethanol." He explained that although many of his customers aren't currently aware of ethanol blender pumps, many have inquired about the availability of E85. "We live in rural northeastern Iowa, an area where people understand ethanol and the importance of using products made in the Midwest versus the Middle East," he said. "I believe that once the consumer understands [the pumps] exist, they will support and utilize them in a tremendous way."

Over the next three years, $13 million will be allocated by the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Program to improve consumer access to renewable fuels in Iowa. In May, legislation signed by Iowa Gov. Chet Culver expanded the original 2006 program. The new legislation allows funding for ethanol blender pumps, and also allows retailers to receive funding for both E85 and biodiesel infrastructure. In addition, it calls for the Iowa Office of Energy Independence to create a statewide renewable fuels marketing plan aimed at flexible-fuel vehicle owners.