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Getting Pumped

Thirty-four fuel stations in 27 cities across South Dakota are offering consumers with flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) more ethanol blend choices at the pump, with the help of grants from the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC). And 11 more fuel stations have applied to this blender pump grant program which debuted last May. This puts South Dakota behind only Minnesota in the total number of blender pumps available to consumers.

“While mid-level blends are for flex fuel vehicles only, we are confident research will demonstrate that E15, E20 or even E30 can be run in conventional vehicles with no changes needed,” says Toni Nuernberg, executive director, EPIC. Nuernberg notes that early tests are being conducted on higher blends at the EPA. Should EPA approve higher blends, the pump infrastructure, at least in South Dakota, will be in place.

The organizations recently launched a state-wide advertising campaign to educate consumers about mid-level ethanol blends, blender pumps and blender pump locations.

Farmers may be interested to learn that the Department of Energy already has begun testing the potential impacts of E15 and E20 on emissions, catalyst and engine durability, vehicle driveability, engine operability and vehicle and engine materials. DOE’s first report is just part of a very large test program. To see the preliminary test results, visit http://feerce.ornl.gov/publications/Int_blends_Rpt_1.pdf.

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