Missouri Conoco to pump ethanol for Postal Service

28 of city's 100 postal trucks can use E-85.
By | November 01, 2002
A Columbia, Mo. Conoco station has installed an E-85 pump specifically for the U.S. Postal Service.

Tiger Conoco owner Steve Gerhardt recently agreed to be the sixth fuel retailer in Missouri to carry E-85. Gerhardt's station put the pump in mainly for the U.S. Postal Service. In the city of Columbia, 28 of 100 postal trucks can use E-85.

"The plan was at one time was to have a couple different pumps around town because we thought we would have more of these vehicles," Saltzman told local reporters. "But we only have a few of these vehicles and not a whole fleet. We needed at least one pump to help keep us going."

Gerhardt converted a 1,000-gallon diesel tank at the station to accommodate the fuel. He began selling E-85 on Nov. 18 and is keeping the fuel price the same as regular unleaded.

"I never even thought about offering it until the post office approached me," Gerhardt said. "In time, demand will grow. There are enough people conscious about the use of cleaner fossil fuels, and more government agencies are required to have a certain amount of flexible-fuel vehicles in their fleets."

Gerhardt's station is the first to install a new E-85 pump in Missouri in nearly two years. St. Louis and Jefferson City each have two retail pumps, while Kansas City has one. There are about 250 E-85 retailers nationwide.

"We're always looking for more retail outlets," said Fred Stemme, spokesman for the Missouri Corn Growers Association. "This is a good chance for Columbia consumers to be introduced to the fuel. Consumer demand will help drive station interest for offering it."

Along with the federal postal fleet, the University of Missouri-Columbia also is under a mandate to have a certain amount of flexible-fuel vehicles.

This story was first reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune