This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 25, 2011

USDA Program Provides More Flex-Fuel Pump Options

A new rule clarifies the definition of renewable energy systems in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to include flexible fuel pumps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported on April 8. USDA said that Americans would soon have more choices at the gas pump through a USDA program that will provide funding for installation of flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as "blender pumps." USDA said this clarification is intended to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that will offer Americans more renewable energy options. The Administration has set a goal of installing 10,000 flexible fuel pumps nationwide within five years.

Presently, most gasoline sold in this country is a mix of 10% ethanol, and 8 to 8.5 million of the approximately 250 million vehicles on the road are flexible fuel vehicles. These flexible fuel vehicles can be fueled with E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Approximately 2,350 of the more than 167,800 fueling stations nationwide offer E85. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the results of E15 testing on vehicles years 2001 and younger. EPA's findings confirm there are additional vehicles on the road able to use higher ethanol blends than are currently available at the local, non-E85, pump. Comments on the interim rule, which was published on April 14 in the Federal Register, must be received by June 13. See the USDA press release and the rule in the Federal RegisterPDF.