Grants provide commuters with alternative fuel choice

By Staff
Melissa Dozier-Cason FCT Staff Writer
Area commuters will have an alternative fuel choice thanks to a $312,00 grant given to Alabama from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The grant, announced by Gov. Bob Riley last Tuesday, Oct. 3, will be used to add pumps for E85 ethanol fuel at six stations in Alabama, and B20 biodiesel fuel at five stations along Interstate 65, according to the governor's office.
"With these grants, these fuels will be commercially available to many Alabamians for the very first time," Riley said.
Huntsville/Decatur, Cullman, Birmingham, Montgomery, Evergreen/Greenville, and Mobile are the selected six areas for the E85 pumps.
The B20 pumps will also be placed in these same areas with the exception of Mobile, where biodiesel is already available.
These sites were chosen based on population, vehicle use, air quality, and the number of motorist who travel along the interstate.
The sites where the alternative fuel will be available will be less than 100 miles from one another, according to the governor's office.
"This is extremely good news because alternative fuels help us protect our environment, they give an economic boost to our farmers, and they reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Riley said.
Grant funds will cover about half of the costs to retailers to add E85 and B20 pumps to their location.
The estimated cost of adding these pumps to each station is $50,000; the retailer would pay $25,000 and the grant will pay $25,000.
The federal government will also be offering a 30 percent tax credit for installation of alternative fuel systems, with a maximum of $30,000 per year.
The Energy, Weatherization, and Technology Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Central Alabama Clean Cities Coalition will host workshops and event to recruit retailers in these areas
The federal grant is part of a project to place 31 E85 stations along 1-65 in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana, according the governor's office.