USDA Doubles Down on Ethanol – Blender Pumps

by Brian McGraw on April 11, 2011

in Blog, Features

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The ethanol industry has found a friend — the US Department of Agriculture. The industry will be less reliant on new legislation to encourage ethanol consumption, thanks to a new USDA announcement that the department will begin funding grants and loan guarantees for gas stations that choose to install new E-85 blender pumps. This was one of the primary legislative goals of the renewable fuels lobbyists.

The funding for the program will be provided by the 2008 farm bill which included funding that can be used to promote renewable energy development. The total fund amounts to $70 million in 2011 and another $70 million in 2012.

From the article:

Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is 10% ethanol, but a growing fleet of flexible-fuel vehicles can run on an 85%-ethanol blend, or E85. However, there are fewer pumps available to dispense it, Mr. Vilsack said.

In the U.S., only about 2,350 fueling stations out of more than 110,000 offer E85 pumps, according to the USDA.

It’s obvious why gasoline retailers are hesitant to install E-85 pumps, adjusting for energy content its not a better deal than gasoline.

When really pressed on why the USDA and the Obama administration continue to support corn based ethanol, they point to using it as helping support the fledgling cellulosic ethanol industry, which seems to always be just 5 years away from commercial viability.

 

 

 

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