USDA hands out $100m for states to add thousands of ethanol pumps

USDA hands out 0m for states to add thousands of ethanol pumps

The US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) programme to add infrastructure needed to supply more renewable fuel to US drivers.

Since announcing the programme in May 2015, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has received applications requesting over $ 130 million (€115 million), outpacing the $ 100 million that is available.

With a more than 1:1 match from private and state resources, USDA estimates that the BIP grants will support nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fuelling stations across the country.

‘The quality and geographic diversity of the applications, backed by supportive state and private partners, demonstrate the strong demand across the country for cleaner, more affordable fuel,’ says Secretary Vilsack.

‘The BIP is one approach USDA is using to aggressively pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy to create new markets for US farmers and ranchers, help Americans save money on their energy bills, support America’s clean energy economy, cut carbon pollution, and reduce dependence on foreign oil and costly fossil fuels.’

A typical US petrol pump delivers fuel with 10% ethanol, a petrol type known as E10, which limits the amount of renewable energy most consumers can purchase at the pump.

USDA estimates that this investment will more than double the nationwide number of stations that offer intermediate blends of ethanol, mainly E15 fuel levels, adding a total of 4,880 pumps.

Out of these, Florida is expected to add the most with 892, followed by Minnesota with 620 and Illinois with 428.

Through BIP, USDA will award competitive grants, matched by states, to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of ethanol.

BIP funds, distributed by the Commodity Credit Corporation, must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example E15 and E85, at vehicle fuelling locations.

The matching contributions may be used for these items or for related costs, such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, programme evaluation, and administrative costs.

The partnership will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth, and the jobs that come with it, and ultimately give consumers more choices at the pump, USDA says.

Biofuels Plantation Services International