Nebraska Farmers Union Supports Grant to Expand Flex Fuel Blender Pumps

For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815 Office or 402-580-8815 Cell

June 11, 2020 Lincoln, NE – In both written and oral testimony Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) supported grant application 20-137 “Nebraska Renewable Fuels and Air Quality Program” before the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The grant from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy would be used to assist in funding 15-85% ethanol blender pumps at retail locations across the state.

In their testimony, Hansen cited NeFU’s grassroots-driven policy adopted at their 2019 state convention:
“NeFU supports federal and state efforts to aggressively provide incentives for the building and utilization of ethanol blender pumps which provide auto fuel users with expanded fuel blending buying options.”

Earlier this year NeFU called attention to the fact that based on last year’s data from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, there are over 252,500 flex fuel vehicles in Nebraska, and those flex fuel vehicle owners cannot buy higher ethanol blend fuels if those fuels are not available where they buy their fuel.

Hansen noted that NeFU is a long-time supporter of ethanol for both economic and environmental reasons including air quality. He said that the latest and best data on the air quality benefits of E-10 are clear, and that the higher ethanol blends like E-15, E-30 and E-85 are even better for air quality because they dilute the toxicity of the gasoline and also reduces the use of carcinogenic additives. Their testimony said:

“The latest and best information on air quality emissions is from a study done by USDA, March 25, 2019. The study said E-10 reduces tailpipe carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 43%, exhaust VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions by 12%, greenhouse gas emissions by 39%, and toxic and carcinogenic particulates such as benzene, toluene, and xylene that are so hazardous to children, senior citizens and those with respiratory issues by 41%. The data clearly says there are substantial improvements in air quality and health from adding higher levels of ethanol blends to our fuels.”

Hansen noted that while Nebraska was the nation’s second largest producer of ethanol, they had less than one fifth of the blender pumps that neighboring Iowa has who is also the nation’s leading ethanol producer. He said that lack of blender pumps deprived Nebraska fuel users of the opportunity to buy home grown higher blend ethanol fuels that burn cleaner and improve air quality. “This one time investment of funds will provide long term air quality benefits,” Hansen said.

NeFU also pointed out that when our nation and state are struggling with the worst medical pandemic in the last century, and since COVID-19 attacks victims with underlying medical conditions, especially people with respiratory issues, and since that air quality directly impacts how many people have respiratory problems, it is appropriate to focus on air quality this year with Nebraska Environmental Trust funding.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 4,000 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

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