Albuquerque, Apr 25, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner announced today that rural New Mexicans will soon be able to have a better choice of fuels at the gas pump. USDA is clarifying the definition of renewable energy systems in its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which includes flexible fuel pumps sometimes referred as “blender pumps”.
“This type of gas pump will give the consumer more choices to fuel their cars with domestic renewable fuel that is being produced in the United States,” said Brunner. “Combined with the other programs we have to finance renewable energy production such as solar and wind power, USDA Rural Development has become a national leader when it comes to supporting the production of renewable energy.”
According to statistics provided by USDA, most gasoline sold in this country is a mix of 10 percent ethanol. Currently, there are 8 - 8.5 million flexible fuel vehicles on U.S. roads, constituting about 3.2 - 3.5 percent of the approximately 250 million vehicles on the road. These flexible fuel vehicles can be fueled with E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). There are approximately 2,350 fueling stations that offer E85 of the more than 167,800 stations nationwide. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the results of E15 testing on vehicles years 2001 and younger. EPA's finding’s confirms there are additional vehicles on the road able to take advantage of higher ethanol blends than currently available at your local, non-E85 pump.
Under the REAP program, gas station owners that have their business located in communities of less than 50-thousand people can apply for financial assistance to install retail blender fuel pumps and related equipment and the retrofitting of existing pumps to dispense various blends of ethanol. E85 pumps and biodiesel pumps can also be funded with this program. Brunner noted that the financial assistance is through grants and guaranteed loans. The minimum grant is $2,500 and the maximum grant is $500,000. Loan guarantees of up to 75 percent of total eligible projects costs are also available. The grant and guaranteed loan applications must be received in the State Office on June 15, 2011.
For more information on the REAP program or how to apply for financial assistance regarding the installation of blender fuel pumps, call the USDA Rural Development’s State Office in Albuquerque at 505-761-4953.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $149 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.