In June 2015, we reported on an announcement by the USDA to expand its support of American-grown renewable energy with the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). Last week Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 21 states will receive grants through this partnership and will add infrastructure needed to supply more renewable fuel to America’s drivers.
This program is designed to double the number of renewable fuel blender pumps that supply higher ethanol blends, like E15 and E85, and increase ethanol consumption. Proponents of the BIP see this as a considerable opportunity to strengthen the positioning of renewable fuels through availability and reach and to give consumers more choices at the pump.
The USDA states, “A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10 percent ethanol, which limits the amount of renewable energy most consumers can purchase at the pump. USDA estimates that this investment will more than double the number of stations that offer intermediate blends of ethanol, mainly E15 fuel levels, nationwide.”
Since announcing the program in May 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) received applications requesting over $130 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 fueling stations across the country.
The list of preliminary state finalists and estimated gas pumps is available through the USDA’s website.