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    More Flex-Fuel Pumps Expected to Sprout in the Midwest

    Indiana announces a new retailer grant program, while a Holiday site becomes the first gas station to feature flex-fuel pumps in the Twin Cities, Minn., area.

    INDIANAPOLIS and STILLWATER, Minn. -- Customers at Indiana convenience stores and gas stations should soon see an increasing number of flex-fuel pumps thanks to a new grant program launched by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council yesterday. The program provides new and existing Indiana retailers with grants of up to $20,000, or up to 50 percent of the cost of purchasing a flex-fuel pump, hardware and storage tank.

    Only flex-fuel vehicles can be serviced at these pumps. Flex-fuel vehicles are specifically designed to run on either high-blend ethanol fuels or gasoline. Indiana residents will soon be able to fill their cars at such pumps with E20, E30 and E50 fuels, The Franklin Online reported.

    "The Flex Fuel Pump Program allows consumers to select the type of ethanol blend they want to use in their flex-fuel vehicle and take advantage of the potential cost benefits of using ethanol," said David Howell, a farmer from Middletown, Ind., and vice president of the state's corn council. Grant recipients already include Little Point Auto and Truck Stop in Stilesville; Austin West-Side Sunoco in Austin; Eddie's Service in West Baden; and Capital Express Mart in Granger, according to the report.

    In related news, the Twin Cities, Minn., area now has its first gas station featuring a flex-fuel pump. Yocum's Holiday at 2500 Orleans St. in Stillwater, Minn., offers E30 and E85 blends from its new "blender pump," which opened in August. There are 225,000 flex-fuel vehicles registered in Minnesota.

    Despite the potential growth of flex-fuel pumps, Scott Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, told The Franklin Online that it will take some time before flex-fuel pumps are readily available throughout his state.

    In part, that's due to one potential roadblock in the way of widespread flex-fuel pump adoption. C-stores and gas stations could be held responsible if consumers accidentally fill their gasoline-only vehicles with an ethanol blend, Imus said. "Sometimes people just look for the cheapest price and that could conceivably be an ethanol blend," he said in the website report. "They don't pay attention."

     

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