PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota officials say they have started the third round of funding for grants that help gas stations buy pumps that let customers select different blends of gasoline and ethanol.

State Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello says $500,000 has been allocated for the current state fiscal year.

Seventy-five retail gas stations have already installed blender pumps, and the grant program has financed 51 of those installations.

South Dakota was the first state in the nation to allow blender pumps, which are intended to support the state's 15 ethanol plants and the more than 1,900 people directly employed in the ethanol industry.

Grant awards up to $25,000 are available for installation of a station's first blender pump. Grants of up to $10,000 are available for installation of each additional pump.

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