|By TIM THORNBERRY
HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — Ethanol use in the United States has increased with the rising cost of foreign oil. This has been more noticeable than in western Kentucky’s Christian County with the existence of Commonwealth Agri-Energy.
The plant is owned by the 650 members of the Kentucky Corn Growers Assoc. and the 2,300 members of the Hopkinsville Elevator Cooperative and processed 8 million bushels of grain, almost all corn, to produce 23 million gallons of ethanol in its first fiscal year.
This has provided a shot in the arm for local corn producers and prompted one local company Max Arnold and Sons, to open an E85 pump in Hopkinsville in 2005 to higher than expected sales. E85 contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Forty-four MaxFuel Express stores in the Christian county area now sell one or more grades of gasoline with a 10 percent ethanol-enriched fuel. Auto manufacturers in the United States approve of the use of 10 percent ethanol-enriched gasoline for use in cars built since 1980.
This abundance of ethanol in the area has led to the signing of a proclamation declaring February as Ethanol Awareness Month in Christian County by Richard G. Liebe, mayor of the city of Hopkinsville, and Steve Tribble, Judge-Executive of Christian County. The purpose of the event is to help create awareness and inform residents in Christian County of advantages of using ethanol such as an improved local economy, cleaner air and reduced dependency on oil.
As part of Ethanol Awareness Month, MaxFuel Express of Max Arnold & Sons, LLC, in partnership with the Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC, will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of ethanol-enriched gasoline to the Jennie Stuart Medical Center. Funds donated will be used to send five children to the American Lung Association of Kentucky asthma camp.
“I’m honored to be a part of something that supports our local community,” said Liebe. “I encourage local residents to participate in Ethanol Awareness Month by doing their part and stopping by any MaxFuel Express location in Christian County to fill up with a 10 percent ethanol-enriched gasoline.”
“We know that offering consumers the option to use ethanol is the right thing to do because it helps reduce air pollution which helps everyone breathe easier,” said Phillip Russo, vice president of Max Arnold & Sons, LLC.
Ethanol Promotion & Information Council (EPIC) Executive Director Tom Slunecka said, “EPIC is proud to support the city of Hopkinsville, and specifically Mayor Richard Liebe, and Judge Executive of Christian County Steve Tribble, who have taken a leadership role in creating awareness among its community about the benefits of ethanol. Awareness is key in helping residents become aware of how when they fill up with ethanol they are helping to clean their air, improve their car’s performance, support their local economy and help their community and our country reduce dependence on oil.”
EPIC is an alliance of ethanol producers and industry leaders that promotes the benefits of ethanol.
“This collaboration is wonderful because it promotes ethanol-enriched gasoline that will keep our air clean and raise awareness for asthma, one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States today,” said Lisa Behm, director of community relations at Jennie Stuart Medical Center.
“Commonwealth Agri-Energy is excited to see the partnership between Max Arnold & Sons and Jennie Stuart Medical Center,” said Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy. “By participating in Ethanol Awareness Month, Hopkinsville is making a commitment to the local economy, environment and our country’s energy security.”
For a copy of the ethanol proclamation, visit www.drivingethanol.org
This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.