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Gas stations throughout Iowa will receive funding from the state to install E85 ethanol fuel tanks, and in Ohio, Kroger has teamed up with automaker General Motors to install tanks and increase E85 awareness throughout the state.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has awarded $300,000 in grants for thirteen retailers to provide E85 pumps at their stations according to a report in the Sioux City Journal.
"The response has been overwhelming," Monte Shaw, spokesman for the group told the Sioux City Journal.
He said that this is the beginning of a wave to increase the number of gas stations that provide E85 by one-third. Shaw said "I really think over the next three years we could do 500 stations, and it could be double that."
According to the report, the grants will provide 13 retailers with money to install tanks that can dispense the E85 fuel. It also provides funds for one station to install a bio-diesel tank. These grants follow a $13 million effort over three years that lawmakers approved for the installation of E85 tanks.
Joe Jones, of the Iowa Department of Economic Development told the Sioux City Journal, "More than anything, this program has shown that Iowa retailers want to make ethanol and bio-diesel available to the public and the demand for infrastructure grants far exceeds the original program funding."
There are currently 2,700 gas stations throughout Iowa. If Shaw's predictions are correct, it would convince consumers to buy flex-fuel vehicles, the report stated.
In Ohio, General Motors is putting in its stakes that increased availability will increase the purchase of flex-fuel vehicles. It has teamed up with Kroger to facilitate the funding of several E85 stations in central Ohio, reported Auto Spectator.
The first site to provide ethanol-based fuel, located in Columbus, is slated to start pumping the organic fuel next month. Dayton, Cincinnati and Toledo are other cities that will see E85 pumps in the near future, according to the report.
General Motors plans to continue spending significant money on advertising and promotions to generate awareness of flex-fuel vehicles and the locations that consumers can fuel them. By the end of 2006, the automaker plans to complete 160 new E85 stations throughout the nation with its various partnerships with other states and fuel retailers.
According to the report, Ohio Governor Bob Taft has signed a similar bill to Iowa's $13 million grants. House Bill 245, which was signed in front of a flex-fuel Chevy Tahoe, grants financial assistance to retailers who want to add or convert pumps to ethanol of bio-diesel.
Taft told the Auto Spectator, "We're working hard to make Ohio a leader in the production and deployment of alternative fuels to reduce our dependence on imported oil and focus on fuels we produce here in our state."