COLUMBUS – Ohio’s availability of soy biodiesel and E85 ethanol will soon increase, thanks to the state’s first-ever biofuels legislation signed into law July 5.
House Bill 245, championed by State Rep. Steve Reinhard, R-Bucyrus, is expected to bring more soy biodiesel and E85 to fueling stations across the state.
Farm help. The bill was supported through the legislative process by many trade and agricultural groups, including the Ohio Corn Growers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Clean Fuels Ohio, Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Soybean Association.
“Increasing the availability of alternative fuels is a win-win situation not only for us as farmers because it will increase the demand for our product, but it is good for the environment, economy and will help to reduce or dependence on foreign oil,” said Jeff Sollars, Ohio Soybean Association president and Fayette County soybean farmer.
Grant program. Two major provisions of the law include establishing the Alternative Fuel Transportation Grant Program and requirements for state vehicle fleets to use and purchase vehicles capable of using soy biodiesel or ethanol.
Through the $1 million grant program, all businesses, nonprofit organizations, school systems or local governments are eligible to apply for grants that would be used to pay for up to 50 percent of the purchase and installation costs of alternative fuel refueling facilities, according to John Lumpe, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association.
Under this same program, grants will also be made available for the purchase and installation of alternative fuel distribution facilities and terminals, and to pay the costs of educational and promotional materials and activities for prospective alternative fuel consumers, marketers and others.
Joint effort. The bill signing was part of an event during which officials from General Motors and the Kroger Company announced a joint effort to increase access to E85 fuel to Ohio consumers.
That campaign begins with an August installation of a pump at the Kroger on East Broad Street in Columbus.
“We’re working hard to make Ohio a leader in the production and deployment of alternative fuels to reduce our dependence on imported oil and focus on fuels we produce here in our state,” said Gov. Bob Taft.
“In February, I announced a goal of tripling the number of E85 pumps in Ohio from six to 18 by the end of the year. Thanks to partnerships like this one with GM and Kroger we are closer to achieving that goal.”
Awareness. Through the partnership, General Motors will work to build consumer awareness of E85 flexible fuel vehicles and where consumers can purchase E85 ethanol through marketing initiatives and dealer outreach.
With plans to install pumps in Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati and Toledo, Kroger will announce the specific locations where E85 fuel will be offered to consumers as they come on line.
State goals. The law includes several specific goals for the Buckeye State to utilize renewable resources, including:
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