Jasper County Indiana residents now have a new option when it comes to purchasing ethanol fuel blends.
Iroquois BioEnergy Company (IBEC) recently opened a retail site to offer ethanol blends, including E10, E15, E30 and E85, at their ethanol plant in Rensselaer, Ind.
The retail fueling station was partially funded by an Indiana Corn Marketing Council Flex Fuel Infrastructure Grant. ICMC, the state corn checkoff, offers the grants with the goal of making ethanol fuels, specifically blends of E30 and above, accessible to consumers across Indiana.
“Hoosier corn farmers believe consumers should have choices at the gas pump when filling up their vehicles and we are excited to be partnering with Iroquois BioEnergy to bring this choice to Jasper County drivers,” said Dennis Maple, ICMC president and farmer from Greentown, Ind. “Our Flex Fuel grant program gives consumers the opportunity 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 ethanol while using an environmentally-friendly, renewable American-made fuel.”
Today, over 95 percent of all fuel sold in the U.S. is blended with 10 percent ethanol, which is also known as E10. E10 can be used in any gasoline-powered vehicle. E15 has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in light duty vehicles (cars, trucks, and SUVs) made in model year 2001 and newer, as well as all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).
The E30 and E85 blends offered by Iroquois BioEnergy are specifically for flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs), which usually have a yellow gas cap to indicate they can run on the higher blends of ethanol, gasoline or any blend of the two.
“We want to use this pump to show the public the economic advantages of higher ethanol blends,” said Gunner Greene of Iroquois BioEnergy. “Our intent is to target those with flex fuel vehicles who may not have a thorough understanding of the advantages of those vehicles.”
IBEC management is pleased with the early sales volume at the pump. E85 comprised more than 75 percent of the initial sales volume, with E30 sales the second largest category.
Greene noted that the company wanted to move into the fuel retail business because they felt they could compete with regional sellers of E85.
“We realized that there were opportunities for us to enter the E85 retail market in our area and promote the economic and environmental benefits that higher ethanol blends offer,” Greene said. “The support and grant funding from ICMC was a key factor in our decision to move forward with the project.”
IBEC is also a member of Growth Energy which works to promote American Ethanol through a sponsorship with NASCAR where all of its cars run on E15. The Flex Fuel dispenser in Rensselaer carries the American Ethanol logo to help consumers recognize their fueling options.
“Many vehicles driven today are compatible with higher ethanol blends,” Greene explained. “But the public are not fully educated on what vehicles are flex fuel or compatible with various higher ethanol blends. Our pump is designed to make higher ethanol fuels accessible and show drivers their versatility.”
Ken Parrent, ICMC’s biofuels director, said that the grants given to projects like IBEC’s retail pump are part of an effort to make ethanol fuels available to Indiana’s rural communities.
“In the past, ICMC’s FFV grant has primarily funded projects in urban and suburban areas,” he explained. “We are looking for projects that develop the state’s ethanol infrastructure in areas where ethanol is not currently available, including rural communities. We want to offer corn farmers a chance to support the industry that uses their crops and contributes to our local and state economies.”
Iroquois BioEnergy Company is just one of the companies to participate in the program launched by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council in 2012 that awards cost-share dollars to fuel retailers in Indiana looking to install flex fuel pumps. Currently, the Flex Fuel Pump Program – funded by corn checkoff dollars – has awarded grants for more than 16 flex fuel pumps to be added at fuel stations across the state. For more information about ICMC’s efforts to promote corn-based ethanol, visit www.incorn.org/ethanol.