WASHINGTON - Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack announced April 8 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing a rule to clarify that the definition of renewable energy systems in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) includes flexible-fuel pumps.

These flex-fuel pumps are sometimes referred to as "blender pumps."

This clarification is intended to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible-fuel pumps. The Obama administration has set a goal of installing 10,000 flexible-fuel pumps nationwide within five years.

"Flex-fuel pumps will give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels," Vilsack said.

Today, most gasoline sold in this country is a mix of 10 percent ethanol. Currently, there are 8 to 8.5 million flexible-fuel vehicles on U.S. roads, constituting about 3.2 to 3.5 percent of the approximately 250 million vehicles on the road. These flexible-fuel vehicles can be fueled with E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).

There are approximately 2,350 fueling stations that offer E85.

A Federal Register notice on these clarifications will be published in the near future.