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USDA Announces Awards to Increase Access to Clean, Affordable Domestic Biofuels

Altoona, Iowa, Jan. 11, 2024 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is awarding $19 million in grants to U.S. business owners to increase the availability of domestic biofuels in 22 states and give Americans cleaner, more affordable fuel options at gas station pumps as part of President Biden’s Bidenomics agenda to lower costs and invest in America.

Blending ethanol into gasoline has helped reduce fuel costs by approximately 25 percent, contributing to falling gas prices across the country. Gas prices are now under $2.99 in more than half of U.S. states and saving the average driver more than $100 per month relative to peak prices. HBIIP increases the number of Americans that benefit from falling prices by expanding the use of ethanol-based fuels at gas stations around the nation.

The Department is making the awards through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), made possible with funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

“President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is giving people in rural areas the historic opportunity to expand clean energy and build an economy that benefits working families,” Vilsack said. “By increasing the supply of biofuels made here in the U.S., we are strengthening our energy independence, lowering costs for American families, creating new streams of income for agricultural producers and bringing good-paying jobs to people in rural communities.”

Secretary Vilsack made today’s announcement during his visit to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona. Secretary Vilsack was awarded the Lifetime Champion of Renewable Fuels Award by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association during the Summit.

Through this most recent tranche of awards, business owners are receiving $19 million to expand access to domestic biofuels in 22 states and strengthen America’s energy independence. For example:

  • Casey’s will use a $5 million grant to install ethanol blend fuel dispensers at 111 fueling stations in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Using these investments, the company aims to increase the amount of biofuels it supplies by 50 million gallons a year.
  • Piasa Enterprises Inc. in Illinois will use a $200,000 grant to install two 30,000-gallon biodiesel storage tanks and associated piping at their Hartford fuel distribution center. The company projects an increase in the amount of biodiesel sold by 2 million gallons per year.
  • In Maryland, AC&T Inc. will install two ethanol fuel dispensers and one ethanol storage tank. Through this project, AC&T owners aim to expand the amount of ethanol they supply by over 106,000 gallons a year.

The full list of states to receive funding is: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA has invested more than $96 million nationwide to increase access to biofuels at fueling stations. $11.6 million of this has been invested in Iowa.

Background: Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program

The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) provides grants to fueling station and distribution facility owners, including marine, rail, and home heating oil facilities, to help expand access to domestic biofuels, a clean and affordable source of energy. These investments help business owners install and upgrade infrastructure such as fuel pumps, dispensers and storage tanks. Expanding the availability of homegrown biofuels strengthens energy independence, creates new revenue for American businesses and brings good-paying jobs to rural communities.

In June 2023, USDA made $450 million available in Inflation Reduction Act funding through the HBIIP to expand the use and availability of higher-blend biofuels. That same month, USDA also announced the first round of Inflation Reduction Act-funded HBIIP awardees.

USDA continues to accept applications for funding to expand access to domestic biofuels. These grants will support the infrastructure needed to reduce out-of-pocket costs for transportation fueling and distribution facilities to install and upgrade biofuel-related infrastructure such as pumps, dispensers and storage tanks. There are three quarterly application windows left, and the program ends Sept. 30, 2024. The next application deadline is March 31, 2024.

For more information, go to the HBIIP webpage.

Background: Inflation Reduction Act

This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $640 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.

The Biden-Harris Administration championed the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis, a key pillar of Bidenomics and part of the Investing in America agenda. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across America. The Act provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible organizations invest in renewable energy infrastructure and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information on the Inflation Reduction Act, visit: www.rd.usda.gov/inflation-reduction-act.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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