Business was brisk at the Bosselman’s Pump & Pantry at the intersection of Highway 281 and Capital Avenue on Friday morning.

Hundreds of motorists waited in line for a super deal in homegrown Nebraska fuel. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Super 88 blend (E15, which is 85 percent unleaded gasoline and 15 percent ethanol) was selling for $1.88 per gallon. Also, E85 was on sale during the same period for 85 cents per gallon.

On Thursday, it was a similar scene at the Bosselman’s Pump & Pantry at the intersection of Webb and West Old Potash roads. Bosselman officials said they sold E15 and E85 at the special prices to 475 customers.

The two-day celebration was part of a grand opening for the station’s new BossFuel pumps. Those pumps not only offer three different blends of ethanol (E10, E15 and E85), but also regular unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel.

At Friday’s grand opening celebration, Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley was helping pump gas.

“Ethanol is such a critically important product that we produce in this state,” Foley said.

There are 25 ethanol plants in Nebraska. Those plants produce 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually. Nebraska is second in the nation behind Iowa in ethanol production.

Each year, the state’s ethanol industry uses more than 700 million bushels of corn grown by Nebraska farmers. Ethanol is a home-grown value-added product that helps provide price support for the state’s corn industry. This year, Nebraska farmers harvested an estimated 1.8 billion bushels of corn.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency to approve the use of E15 year-round.

Increasing the amount of ethanol blended into regular gasoline not only lowers prices for consumers, but also increases the amount of corn used in the production of ethanol.

Last year, the amount of ethanol-blended fuel consumption in Nebraska was 796 million gallons. At the pump, the difference between regular gasoline and E10 averages about 30 cents per gallon. E15 is estimated to make the cost at the pump for consumers another 5 cents cheaper per gallon.

The state’s ethanol plants represent more than $5 billion in capital investment and provide direct full-time employment for more than 1,300 Nebraskans.

“This is a tremendous help to our farmers,” Foley said about Bosselman Enterprises adding new E15 pumps to their stations, along with the sale of E85 and E10.

Increasing the amount of home-grown biofuel is a national security issue, along with helping the environment.

“Every gallon of ethanol we can blend in with our gasoline reduces the amount of fuel we have to import from foreign countries,” Foley said. “This is very important to our ag sector, and we are thankful to the Bosselman family and their whole corporate sector for what they are doing. We are growing our fuel right out here in our corn fields.”

Bosselman Enterprises is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The company was a pioneer in introducing ethanol fuel to Nebraska motorists.

E15 was approved for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) by the EPA in 2012.

In 1948, Fred Bosselman, a farmer and part-time truck driver, and his wife, Maxine, opened Bosselman & Eaton Truck Stop on U.S. Highway 30 in Grand Island, with his brother, Charles, brother-in-law, Al Eaton, and sister, Charlotte Eaton. Over the years, this location developed a reputation for good food and excellent service.

In 1965, Fred Bosselman built the Bosselman Truck Plaza at the intersection of the new Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 281 at Grand Island. Known at the time as the “Truck Stop of Tomorrow,” this location became a landmark on I-80 and has successfully served the public for more than 50 years.

Bosselman Enterprises now has businesses in 22 states across the country.

Attending Friday’s ceremony were Charlie Bosselman and Brandi Bosselman, owners of Bosselman Enterprises.

“We have been a part of the ethanol industry for many years,” said Charlie Bosselman. “It is a good product for Nebraska, for our farmers and for the consumer. Whenever we have an opportunity to offer more of that option to the customer, that is what we are going to do.”

He said more and more of their Pump & Pantry stores will be selling E15 as the company expands its new BossFuel products, which includes its new Super Unleaded 87, the E15 fuel.

“It is an excellent product that not a lot of people are offering right now,” Bosselman said. “It is a better product at a cheaper price. We are going to continue to offer more and more options on fuel. It is going to be our focus.”

The Highway 281 and Capital Avenue Pump & Pantry was the company’s third store. It was also one of the first gas stations to offer E10 gasoline to Nebraska consumers.

Brandi Bosselman said the company’s slogan is “Nebraska Born, Nebraska Grown, Nebraska Owned.”

“Anything we can do to promote Nebraska, we will do,” she said.

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I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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