MASON CITY, Iowa — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested $22 million out of the up to $100 million in grants available to increase American ethanol and biodiesel sales, a move that already affecting the fuel forecourt at some convenience stores and gas stations. These funds were made available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) to recipients in 14 states. The initial $22 million in HBIIP investments are projected to increase ethanol demand by nearly 150 million gallons annually.
“Investments made through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program are helping rural communities build stronger economies and will give consumers more choices when they fill up at the pump,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “President Trump has expanded ethanol use by unleashing year-round E15, and the result is more demand for American farmers and more affordable fuel for American consumers.”
USDA is funding projects in California, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin. Examples of projects include:
- In Iowa, United Farmers Cooperative will use a $93,000 grant to replace six dispensers and two storage tanks at a fueling station. This project is estimated to increase ethanol sales by nearly 300,000 gallons per year.
- In Wisconsin, BP Kenosha Travel Plaza LLC will use a $378,000 grant to replace and install 20 dispensers and a storage tank at two fueling stations. This project is estimated to increase ethanol sales by 1.6 million gallons per year.
- Southeast Petro Distribution will use a $3.5 million grant to replace and install 113 dispensers and 48 storage tanks at 26 fueling stations in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. This investment is estimated to increase ethanol sales by 1.7 million gallons per year.
USDA plans on announcing the remaining HBIIP investments in the coming weeks.
The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program helps transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities convert to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment and infrastructure.
Eligible applicants are vehicle fueling facilities, including, but not limited to, local fueling stations and locations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, fuel terminal operations, midstream partners or distribution facilities. Higher biofuel blends are fuels containing ethanol greater than 10% by volume or fuels containing biodiesel blends greater than 5% by volume.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.