The USDA is now accepting applications for federal REAP funds to help gasoline retailers install blender pumps designed to give consumers flexibility and choice in the ethanol blends they use. This is the third year that blender pumps have been authorized as part of the REAP program.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in 2011 that USDA had plans to install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years. That announcement and this year’s opening of the application process is welcomed news to the Blend Your Own (BYO) Ethanol campaign, a joint educational effort by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The campaign will again offer free grant writing services to those interested in applying.

“This program provided funding for hundreds of blender pumps the past two years, providing many consumers with the choice and flexibility they deserve to pick the ethanol blends that work for them based on their vehicle, their beliefs, and their budget,” said RFA Director of Market Development Robert White. “Through the BYO Ethanol Campaign, we have the ability to assist retailers in applying for these funds and help USDA and the Obama administration achieve the renewable fuel goals they have put forward. This year retailers have more options than ever with E15; these blender pumps will help spread this new blend across the country.”

“We can continue to break the stranglehold oil has over our nation’s economy and energy future by giving consumers more options at the pump,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty. “The USDA’s announcement together with the efforts of the BYO ethanol campaign will go a long way toward making that happen.”
The BYO Ethanol Campaign is designed to inform gasoline marketers and retailers about the opportunities blender pumps offer. Blender pump technologies allow retailers and consumers to choose the blend of ethanol they want from no ethanol content to 85 percent ethanol by volume. Increasing the number of blender pumps in operation in conjunction with expanding the size of the America’s flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) fleet capable of using high level ethanol blends is critical to achieving our nation’s energy goals, including commercializing advanced ethanol technologies.

According to information released by USDA, this program is designed to help spur rural development. This program offers funding for grants, and loan guarantees, but certain restrictions will apply on the size of the local communities and the businesses applying for the funds. Applications for the grant program are due on April 30, 2013.

For more information on the REAP Program, free grant writing services or blender pumps, please visit www.BYOEthanol.com or contact the following:Robert White, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), rwhite@ethanolrfa.org, (402) 391-1930; Ron Lamberty, American Coalition for Ethanol, rlamberty@ethanol.org, (605) 334-3381.