New Grants Help Minnesota Service Stations Add More Ethanol Options

A new Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) grant is helping 44 Minnesota service stations offer customers more and greener options at the pump. 

The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Biofuels Infrastructure Grant Program is awarding over $6.4 million to offset the cost of investing in upgraded retail petroleum dispensers, fuel storage tanks, and other equipment compatible with motor fuel containing higher blends of ethanol. 

Retail fuel locations receiving funds will be able to offer Unleaded 88/E15 — fuel containing a 15% blend of ethanol — and other higher blends. 

Funding for this program is made available through a  legislative appropriation for the AGRI Program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools, and more throughout the state of Minnesota. 

Area service stations awarded grants include: Ag Plus Cooperative C-Store in Marshall, receiving a $199,000 grant, Farmward Cooperative Cenex-Morgan ni Morgan receiving a $172,017 grant and Farmward Cooperative-Springfield in Springfield receiving a $153,882 grant. 

An additional $1 million in funding for the Biofuels Infrastructure Grant Program was provided by Minnesota Corn, made up of the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and Minnesota Corn Growers Association. 

“These grants help the local economy by giving drivers more economical options at the gas pump and increasing access to homegrown fuel that comes from Minnesota farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We’re also helping our environment when we increase the use of ethanol blends that burn cleaner than fossil fuels. Thanks to the Minnesota Legislature and Minnesota Corn, we can invest in these projects that benefit all Minnesotans.” 

Continued growth in sales of higher blends of ethanol like Unleaded 88 show that Minnesotans want a choice at the pump that saves money, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and improves air quality, said Minnesota Corn Promotion & Research Council Chair Doug Albin. 

“Minnesota Corn is pleased to partner with MDA through this grant program, allowing local fueling stations to expedite upgrading their systems to dispense Unleaded 88. We work to find ways to expand access to Unleaded 88 for drivers across the state, helping Minnesotans save money at the pumps while and reduce emissions through the cleaner-burning fuel,” Albin said. 

The 44 grantees are receiving awards that range from approximately $83,000 to $199,000 – the maximum for an individual project.