USDA Unveils Details of Incentive Program to Boost Ethanol & Biodiesel Sales

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USDA Unveils Details of Incentive Program to Boost Ethanol & Biodiesel Sales

Ethanol fuel pump

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to make up to $100 million available in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the sale and use of renewable fuels. Program information and application deadlines will be published in the Federal Register this spring.

The grant funds will be available under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), whose purpose is to significantly increase the sale and use of higher blends of ethanol and biediesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.

The program also seeks to encourage a more comprehensive approach to marketing higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

The USDA began seeking input from biofuel stakeholders in late January, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

Grants will be available to help transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities convert to higher-ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to installing, retrofitting and/or upgrading fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure, the USDA reported. It plans to make available approximately $86 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of fuel ethanol and approximately $14 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of biodiesel.

The USDA will encourage applications that support recommendations made in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to help improve the quality of life in rural America.

Applicants are asked to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

  • Achieving e-connectivity for rural America;
  • Developing the rural economy;
  • Harnessing technological innovation;
  • Supporting a rural workforce; and
  • Improving quality of life.

"We are grateful for USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for this commitment to expanding infrastructure and access to higher blends of biofuels. Through the original Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership grants and private fundraising, Growth Energy and Prime the Pump have worked with 14 of the largest retailers to install more than 2,000 retail locations across the nation, expanding consumer access to Unleaded 88, fuel blended with fifteen percent ethanol," said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. "Secretary Perdue's announcement today helps propel higher biofuel blends into the next decade, and Prime the Pump's retail partners are ready to embrace this new wave of growth."

The Renewable Fuels Association also applauded the announcement.

"Leadership manifests itself in actions, not words. And today's announcement by Secretary Perdue is all about taking definitive action to expand the market for biofuels, grow demand for farm commodities, and offer lower-cost, cleaner fuel options to consumers," said CEO Geoff Cooper. "On behalf of the U.S. ethanol industry, I thank Secretary Perdue and President Trump for their continued commitment to America's farmers and renewable fuels industry."