During a visit to an E85 fueling station Monday Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of moving toward a clean energy economy and breaking the country's dependence on foreign oil. He noted that flex-fuel pumps give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels.
"Flex-fuel pumps give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels," Vilsack said. "The Obama Administration is working to transform the United States into a global clean energy leader because transportation fuels created from a wide variety of renewable energy sources will create a new generation of jobs here at home, reduce dependence on foreign oil and enhance our national security."
An initiative announced by Vilsack in April allows USDA's Rural Energy for America Program to make funding available for flexible fuel pumps, also called blender pumps. The program is expected to encourage fuel station owners to invest in blender pumps to give Americans the option of selecting the blend of renewable fuel they desire.
The Obama Administration would like to see 10,000 flex-fuel pumps installed across the U.S. within the next five years. Currently around 2,300 of the more than 167,000 stations in the nation offer E-85. Between eight and 8.5 million flexible fuel vehicles are on the road. These vehicles can be fueled with E85. According to EPA, other vehicles currently on the road could take advantage of higher ethanol blends than are currently available at non-E85 pumps.
Deadlines to submit REAP applications are June 15 and 30 depending on the type of project. Those interested should contact their local USDA Rural Development office for more information on how to apply. In light of an agriculture spending proposal that was marked up by a House Appropriations Subcommittee earlier this week, those interested in REAP should definitely apply this year as the proposal eliminates REAP funding next year.