Expect long lines of vehicles today at the Sinclair gas station in the northwest Iowa town of Rock Rapids. Co-owner Greg Popkes says they’ll be offering a special discount on ethanol-blended fuel to send a patriotic message.
Popkes says, "We’re going to drop the price down to a buck-99 and let people know that America is efficient and can make their own product right here instead of shipping it in from eight-thousand miles away in Saudi Arabia." The gas station claims to be the first in Iowa to use a "blender" style of pump which dispenses ethanol in a host of gasoline mixes.
Popkes says they offer ethanol in blends of ten, 15, 20, 30 and 85%. The pump was installed in August but this celebration marks the station’s grand re-opening. Popkes says they expect a number of state officials to mark the occasion including Congressman Steve King and leaders of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He says Governor Culver was also invited.
"Chet Culver made this law possible to use your gasohol tanks for E-85 and got that passed in June and now everybody can do it in the state of Iowa," Popkes says. "The oil companies were wanting to make sure you put a new tank in, which is stupid." At least one other gas station claims to be the state’s first to use the "blender" pumps — the Galva-Holstein ag fuel station, just south of Galva in western Iowa. Both went on-line a few weeks ago.