The Nebraska Corn Board's new blender pump grant program that began July 1 has yielded a big response, with half of the funds available in the program already being allocated to gas station owners who plan to upgrade their equipment.
As part of its 2012-13 budget, the Nebraska Corn Board set aside $750,000 to further develop fuel ethanol infrastructure in Nebraska through the grant program. Grants provide fuel retailers up to $40,000 to help cover the costs of installing blender pumps.
"We have seen an incredible amount of interest from retailers from all across the state, from Lexington to Blair, including larger communities like Norfolk, Columbus, Omaha and Lincoln," says Kim Clark, director of biofuels development with the Nebraska Corn Board.
Bosselman's Pump & Pantry had taken advantage of a smaller Nebraska Corn Board blender pump grant program in the past to help install blender pumps in Central City, Grand Island and St. Paul.
The company has also applied for grants with the new program for several more locations across the state. "Blender pumps are a great way to support agriculture and renewable fuels in Nebraska, while offering motorists more choices at the pump," says Stephanie King-Witt, director of marketing, media and public relations for Bosselman's. "The grant money the Nebraska Corn Board offers helps offset some of our costs to install the pumps and is a great incentive to upgrade."
David Merrell, a farmer from St. Edward and Nebraska Corn Board member, notes that Nebraska is the second largest producer of ethanol and the third largest producer of corn in the country. "We need to be able to use more of the products we produce right here in the state," says Merrell. "Blender pumps are a great way to increase the availability of ethanol, especially for those who drive flex fuel vehicles, and we're seeing more flexible-fuel vehicles on the road every day."
The pumps also provide opportunities for stations to more easily offer E15, which is approved for use in all model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs.
Seth Harder, general manager at Husker Ag, LLC, says, "We at Husker Ag feel that blender pumps are a necessary part of rural sustainability. The state of Nebraska has no traditional oil refining capacity, as most of the states in the upper Midwest do not. As such, we are subject to importing over 90% of our transportation fuel into the state. Blender pumps allow flexibility, choice and price control for the consumer."
For more information about the grant program or to request an application for the grant, contact Clark at [email protected] or via telephone at 402-471-2676.