Kansas blender pump program becomes permanent

By Erin Voegele | February 04, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 6, 2009, at 9:54 a.m. CST

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky recently announced the state's pilot program for ethanol blender pumps has become permanent. Polansky said the pilot program, which had been in place since early 2008, demonstrated that the blender pumps are highly accurate in dispensing both the correct quantity and percentage of fuel. "We've had enough experience that we feel at this point we can move forward on a permanent basis," Polansky said.

We don't anticipate any major changes to the program, Polansky said. The Kansas Department of Agriculture still encourages those providing the pumps to communicate with them prior to dispensing midlevel blends at new locations, but they are no longer required to do so. The communication is being encouraged because the department still wishes to work closely with those supplying the dispensers to ensure that they are accurately dispensing fuel. Other requirements of the program include the use of a two nozzle fuel dispenser and certain labeling requirements.

The program currently requires that E100 be used as the blend stock. Polansky said this may change in the future. "We're reviewing the possibility of utilizing E85," he continued. E85 is not currently allowed under the program because the ethanol content of E85 can vary seasonally, containing anywhere from 70 percent to 85 percent ethanol. The department's concern is that a varying blend stock would cause variations in the amount of ethanol contained within the midlevel blends. "We need to find a way to be certain that [the blend stock] is always coming to the blender stations with a specific percentage blend," Polansky said.

One benefit of the program, he added, is that blender pumps provide both retailers and consumers a choice of fuel products. Midlevel blends allow consumers with flexible-fuel vehicles the opportunity to find the right blend of ethanol to optimize performance and mileage. In addition, the pumps offer retailers the opportunity to realize the benefits of being the blender of record.

There are currently at least nine ethanol blender pump stations in Kansas. Polansky said he expects this number to grow quickly. "There is an active program underway with the Kansas Corn Growers Association and the industry to end 2009 with at least 100 blender pumps in the state," he said. "We're very optimistic that we'll see these numbers increase quite significantly through the year."

For more information on the Kansas Department of Agriculture's ethanol blender pump program, visit their Web site.