Grain Bins


National Blender Pump campaign to expand infrastructure

Posted on August 11, 2009

Consumers can enjoy more choices at the pump, gas station owners can experience product flexibility, and the nation can achieve its renewable fuels targets – all thanks to the blender pump and the wider distribution of E85 and mid-range ethanol blends. An unprecedented new campaign is underway between leading corn-producing states, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and the Renewable Fuels Association, with the goal of installing 5,000 blender pumps nationwide over the next three years.

“I’m proud that my fellow growers from so many states have seen the need to support renewable fuel infrastructure and are partnering on this national campaign to increase the availability of ethanol to consumers,” said Darrin Ihnen, First Vice President of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Hurley, South Dakota. “Just like ethanol plants give us more choices for where to sell our crops, blender pumps give drivers more choices at the pump. When given the choice, we believe American motorists will choose ethanol.”

The “Blend Your Own Ethanol” campaign – or BYOethanol (pronounced “bio”) – will offer a single source of ethanol information and technical expertise for petroleum marketers looking to upgrade equipment or begin offering more choices to their customers. By serving as a central clearinghouse for renewable fuels infrastructure incentives, the “BYOethanol” campaign will bring blender pumps to key areas of the country, and from there they will spread as neighboring gas stations see the benefit and want to remain competitive.

Blender pumps are not new to the fuel industry, but are now finding new use with ethanol and E85. A blender pump features two underground tanks, typically one with unleaded and one with E85, and the dispenser blends the appropriate percentages of the two fuels to create any blend of ethanol from zero to 85 percent. Gas station owners benefit from product flexibility and by being ready for future renewable fuel blend levels, and consumers benefit by having new choices at the pump like E20 or E30 for their flexible fuel vehicles.

“This campaign will be successful because it works directly with petroleum marketers, not paying them to put in a blender pump, but explaining to them why it’s a good business decision, how it will benefit the station, and helping them access the state and federal incentives that exist,” said Ron Lamberty, Vice President / Market Development of the American Coalition for Ethanol. “If we present petroleum marketers with the facts about why this is a good business decision – and it is a good business decision – they will consider adding blender pumps to their stations. Now our job is to get this information out to as many of them as possible, and we’ve already begun doing that.”

Along with the National Corn Growers Association, several leading corn-producing states are participating in this program. At press time, states participating are the Kansas Corn Commission, the Kentucky Corn Promotion Council, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, the Nebraska Corn Board, and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, with several other states on the verge of joining this effort.

“Blender pumps are the best way to expand the reach of renewable fuels, and it’s time for a national campaign to get this infrastructure in the ground and get consumers the choices they deserve,” said Robert White, Director of Market Development for the Renewable Fuels Association. “No matter where their station is located, retailers will have a wide variety of options to increase their profit margin while lowering the cost for consumers. We are grateful to be working with the corn grower organizations and the American Coalition for Ethanol.”

The “BYOethanol” campaign will function as an expanded market development program of the two ethanol groups and will serve as the only one-stop source for all the technical, regulatory, safety, and environmental information petroleum marketers need about retailing ethanol blends. The program will feature extensive work at petroleum marketer events and a Web presence designed specifically for station owners to easily get the information they want.

The nearly 200 blender pump locations in the U.S. today can be seen on this map:

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