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    Ethanol Grows in the Midwest

    New filling locations sprout in two states, while biofuel locations in Kansas flourish.

    NEW YORK -- A number of gasoline retailers have recently jumped on the E85 bandwagon, some of whom are bringing the alternative fuel to states for the first time. Published reports state that a Holiday Stationstore in Sioux Falls, S.D., is the first location for the company to bring the fuel to the state, while a Cenex store is the first in Beaver Dam, Wis. to offer the fuel. Meanwhile, Kansas is quickly becoming an E85 leader, with 21 locations throughout the state.

    This Thursday, Aug. 16, the Holiday Stationstore in Sioux Falls, S.D., will celebrate its status as the state's first Holiday store to offer E85. As part of the celebration, the store will sell the fuel at $1.85 per gallon from 3 to 6 p.m.

    In addition, the station is also offering free root beer floats during the three-hour promotion, which is being sponsored by Holiday, General Motors Corp., the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition and the American Lung Association of South Dakota.

    "The growth of E85 stations nationwide has been remarkable over the past couple years," Linda Redder, communications manager for the American Lung Association of South Dakota, said in a written statement. "Today, there are more than 1,250 E85 stations in the United States, and the majority are in the upper Midwest."

    In other E85 news, United Cooperative's Cenex convenience store in Beaver Dam, Wis. has become the first in the area to sell E85 fuel, reported Wiscnews.com. The station began pumping the blended fuel earlier this week.

    "We are extremely excited and proud to be the first convenience store in Beaver Dam offering E85," David Cramer, president and CEO of United Cooperative, told the Web site. "This is great for Beaver Dam, and it's great for our state."

    United Cooperative -- a full-service cooperative offering grain, feed, agronomy and energy products to southern Wisconsin farmers and consumers -- also plans to introduce additional E85 pumps to its convenience stores across Southcentral Wisconsin in the following months, including stores in Watertown and Poynette, Wis.

    "It's better for the air that we breathe, and it supports our local farmers rather than some nameless foreign corporation," Cramer added. ”It just makes sense for us, since we're already in the energy business, and we care deeply about supporting local agriculture."

    Meanwhile, motorists who drive E85-capable vehicles in Kansas have even more locations where they can fill their tanks, as the state now boasts 21 locations where E85 is available through gas retailers, the High Plains Journal reported.

    The most recent stations to add the alternative fuel are located in Edwardsville, Overbrook, Parsons, Garnett and Topeka, Kan., according to the report.

    "We've increased the number of E85 stations in Kansas from four to 21 in less than two years," said Kansas Corn Commission Executive Director Jere White. The Kansas Corn Commission's goal is to increase the availability and use of ethanol fuel in the state. "Motorists with flexible-fuel vehicles can travel around the state and, in most cases, will be able to operate on E85 fuel if they wish," White said.

    Several more E85 stations are set to open in Kansas during the next six months.

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