S. Dakota expanding ethanol blender access, use

Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:32pm EDT

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* Adds nearly 100 blender pump locations

* Seen boosting ethanol use

KANSAS CITY, June 16 (Reuters) - South Dakota is issuing $1 million in grant money for installation of up to 100 ethanol blender pumps at fuel stations across the state, expanding facililities that allow motorists to select the amount of ethanol in the fuel they use, state officials said on Wednesday.

South Dakota already has 42 such service stations offering blender pumps, currently available in only 14 U.S. states. The grant program should add nearly 100 blender pumps at 49 more fuel stations in 40 South Dakota communities, state officials said.

"These pumps will conveniently tailor the amount of ethanol in fuel to fit the capabilities of various vehicles," South Dakota Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a statement. "That will not only benefit motorists but also should increase ethanol use."

South Dakota received funds for the program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus.

The U.S. biofuels industry is waiting for word from the Environmental Protection Agency this summer on whether it will raise the U.S. fuel blend rate from 10 percent ethanol to as much as 15 percent.

Roughly one-third of the annual U.S. corn crop, or more than 4 billion bushels of corn, is converted to fuel. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by David Gregorio)

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