Fuel Retailers and Drivers Raise Thousands for Local Cancer Center

Representatives from the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Corn Board and Renewable Fuels Nebraska present the Fuel the Cure 2020 donations of $5,488.60 to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

In the past three years, fuel retailers across Nebraska have joined forces to raise more than $18,000 for cancer research as part of “Fuel the Cure.” During October, when drivers chose higher blends of ethanol fuel like E15, E30 and E85 at participating retail locations, gas stations donated 3 cents for each gallon sold. This year, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha received $5,488.60.

“Donations to cancer research truly make a difference,” said Jenn Klein, a wife, mother, and breast cancer survivor. “I’m thankful funding was available to discover treatment before I needed it or I might not be here today.” 

Jenn Klein

When Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, her cancer cells were growing and dividing at a rate of about 80%. Treatment was needed immediately. A funded researcher discovered two of the four chemotherapy treatments she underwent.

While biofuels and cancer research may seem like an unlikely pairing, it is a known fact that using more biofuels leads to less air pollution. According to the American Lung Association, up to 70% of ground-level ozone-forming pollutants come from mobile-source emissions such as our cars.

Chemicals in gasoline are the same carcinogens found in tobacco, which are linked to cancer. Higher blends of biofuels dilute the toxicity and help reduce cancer-causing aromatics released from tailpipe emissions. Ethanol-blended fuels also reduce greenhouse gases by 42%.

“Fuel retailers who provide the choices of E15, E30 and E85 know regular and premium gasoline without ethanol is harmful to the air we breathe. By making higher ethanol blends available, they are empowering consumers to help in the effort of cleaner air. Supporting ‘Fuel the Cure’ is a step beyond because the funds are directly impacting lives of patients at the Cancer Center,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “By choosing higher blends of ethanol in the fuel we put in our cars, we can all do more toward creating a healthier environment now and for the future.”

Drivers who choose ethanol at the pump often see a price break, and their use of ethanol supports Nebraska’s rural communities and the entire Nebraska economy. To find a location near you, visit fueledbynebraska.com.

E15, also called Unleaded88, is approved for use in passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Nebraska has approximately 200,000 registered flex fuel vehicles, which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is already preparing for next year’s event and would encourage Nebraska fuel retailers who are interested in participating to reach out to Jessica Sodeke, Nebraska Ethanol Board program manager, at Jessica.sodeke@nebraska.gov for more information.

“We continue to see the number of fuel retailers in Nebraska offering E15 increase, and we are going to continue helping fuel retailers to make the option more easily accessible,” Berry said. “The greater the accessibility to higher ethanol blends we make available to drivers, the bigger the impact we are making.”

The Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska sponsor “Fuel the Cure” in conjunction with retail stations. To see the full list of stations that donated funds, visit www.fuelthecure.pink.

USDA Reopens HBIIP Program

The USDA opened a new, 30-day application period Dec. 21 to provide retailers one more opportunity to apply for grant money still available under its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). These funds provide a second chance for retailers who got started during the original 90-day timeframe but couldn’t complete their grant applications before that window closed. Approximately $22 million is being made available for fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, and fleet facilities to add higher ethanol blends.

“Investing in infrastructure just makes sense for a retailer to keep their equipment up-to-date, and grant assistance makes it economical,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “These funds are a great opportunity for all retailers to invest in higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E30 to provide a healthier fuel choice to all our Nebraska communities. We appreciate the USDA re-opening this program and helping support our mission of making ethanol more widely available.”

Through this program, transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel. Cost-share grants and/or incentives will be made available for fuel ethanol/biodiesel blends such as E15 or higher. In October, USDA announced several recipients of the up to $100 million in matching grants to increase ethanol and biodiesel sales.

The purpose of the HBIIP is to significantly increase the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The program is also intended to encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

Awards to successful applicants will be in the form of cost-share grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not to exceed $3 million, whichever is less. To learn about eligibility requirements, visit the HBIIP website here. The deadline is Jan. 19, 2021.

Resources have been made available to make the process easier. Links to these resources below can be found on the Nebraska Ethanol Board here.

  • USDA will offer free education webinars on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. CST or Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. CST.
  • American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) launched a series of short, fuel marketer-focused videos breaking down the HBIIP application process into manageable pieces to encourage retailers to apply. The videos were produced in coordination with USDA. ACE also offers a Flex Check tool helping retailers understand they may already have the equipment they need to add E15.
  • Renewable Fuels Association again will serve as a technical resource to interested retailers.
  • Have questions? Retailers in Nebraska can contact Jeff Carpenter, USDA Energy Coordinator/Rural Development, at jeff.carpenter@usda.gov or 402-437-5554.

Nebraska Ethanol Board to hold virtual board meeting on Dec. 22

Under guidance of Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Executive Order No. 20-36, which is effective Dec. 1, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021, and allows public meetings to be conducted by video or teleconference, the Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet virtually at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22. To request the call-in information, please contact the Nebraska Ethanol Board office at 402-471-2941 or email the request to Jessica.Sodeke@nebraska.gov. The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Sept. 10, 2020, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Budget Report
  6. Fuel Retailer Update
  7. E30 Demonstration Update
  8. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  9. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  10. Lowering Ethanol’s Carbon Intensity Study
  11. Economic Impact Study of Corn Basis
  12. Dues & Memberships
  13. Marketing Programs
  14. Environmental, Health & Safety Summit Review/Upcoming NEB-hosted Conferences
  15. State and Federal Legislation
  16. Ethanol Plant Reports
  17. Chair’s Report
  18. Administrator’s Report
  19. New Per Diem and Expense Reimbursement Rules via LB381
  20. Travel Reports and Authorization
  21. Personnel
  22. Staff Tuition Reimbursement
  23. Executive Session, if deemed necessary
  24. Election of Board Officers for 2021
  25. Next Meeting Date
  26. Adjourn

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.


Field to Fuel Student Video Contest Open for Entries

The Nebraska Ethanol Board presents the 6th annual Field to Fuel video contest, which encourages Nebraska high school students to explore the importance and value of ethanol.

With a focus on educating the public about renewable fuels, students are asked to research, film and edit a two-minute video for a chance to one of three prizes, including a $1,000 grand prize for their school or organization. Eligible videos must be received and/or postmarked no later than Jan. 31, 2021. More information and requirements can be found here.

“The ethanol industry plays a significant role in Nebraska’s economy and is very important to our state’s agriculture,” said Jonathan Anderson, agriculture teacher at Norfolk High School. “Teaching about biofuels can be a blast and also ensures this generation understands the impact of biofuels now and in the future. The Field to Fuel contest is a fun, alternative way to learn and show off student learning. Last year, this video contest, and a field trip to our local ethanol plant, sparked two students to do an experiment creating ethanol production from Apple Cider Wastes that has made it all the way to the top three at the National FFA AgriScience Contest. It has been a joy to watch.”

This contest is open to all Nebraska high school students in grades 9-12th grade and can explore any aspect of ethanol, including agriculture, science, sustainability, and renewable fuels’ impact in improving the environment and Nebraska’s economy.. Teachers who would like more information about how to introduce ethanol into their curriculum (all ages) can explore the Ethanol in the Classroom tab on the Nebraska Ethanol Board website.

Fuel Retailers and Consumers Fuel Up for Cancer Research

LINCOLN, Neb. – Throughout October, drivers can help Fuel the Cure for breast cancer by filling up with higher blends of ethanol at participating locations. More than 35 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends – E15 to flex fuel E85 – sold between Oct. 1­‑31 to support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha. 

Why support this important cause? 
Jenn Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. Her cancer cells were growing and dividing very rapidly – at a rate of about 80%. Lifesaving treatment was needed right away. She completed 20 weeks of chemotherapy, received multiple blood and platelets transfusions, underwent a four-hour procedure that included a port removal, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, and immediate one-step reconstruction, and endured 33 sessions of radiation. By the end of 2015, Jenn was finally cancer free. If it wasn’t for a chemotherapy treatment that was discovered by a funded researcher, Jenn might not be alive today to share her story.

Chemicals in gasoline, like benzene, are known to cause cancer. Higher blends of biofuels, like locally-produced ethanol, replace a portion of this toxicity and help reduce cancer-causing emissions. Since 2018, Nebraska’s Fuel the Cure campaigns have raised more than $13,000 for cancer research.

“Cancer touches the lives of nearly everyone in some way,” said Ashley Christensen, director of development at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “We appreciate that Nebraska fuel retailers are joining forces to empower drivers to support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which provides lifesaving care to people throughout our state. Through generous contributions, such as the Fuel the Cure campaign, we are able to fund researchers working on new treatments each and every day.”

For a complete list of participating fuel retailers, please visit fueledbynebraska.com. Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows and at the counter.

E15 (15% ethanol and 85% gasoline), also called Unleaded88, is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15% are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans drive a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Drivers can check their owners’ manuals to see if they’re driving flex fuel vehicles. The vehicles may also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.

“This October, I encourage everyone to visit a Fuel the Cure participating retailer,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Through this program, we’re not only saving consumers money, cleaning up the environment and supporting our state’s corn farmers, but we’re also helping in the fight against cancer one gallon at a time.”

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations.