On Tuesday, April 12, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced steps the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking to implement President Biden’s plan to enable energy independence by boosting homegrown biofuels.
“President Biden understands that by expanding our ability to meet our energy needs with homegrown biofuels, we can ensure a more reliable and affordable source of fuel for American consumers, while supporting American agriculture and sustainable, domestic energy production, creating good-paying jobs, and generating economic opportunities, especially in rural and farm communities,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The President’s announcement today builds on his bold actions to reduce energy prices and tackle rising consumer prices caused by Putin’s Price Hike by tapping into a strong and bright future for the biofuel industry, in cars and trucks and the rail, marine, and aviation sectors and supporting use of E15 fuel this summer. In the short term, American families will experience relief from rising fuel prices and in the long-term, our country can continue to realize energy independence made possible by American agriculture and manufacturing.”
USDA is making the following investments as part of the plan outlined today by President Biden:
- $5.6 million for Infrastructure for Renewable Fuels through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program: Today, USDA is announcing funding in 7 states to build infrastructure to expand the availability of higher-blend renewable fuels by approximately 59.5 million gallons per year. States included in this investment are California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota. These investments will give consumers more environmentally friendly, and oftentimes more affordable fuel choices when they fill up at the pump.
- For example, in Illinois, Power Mart Express Corp., DBA PME, is receiving a $2.9 million grant to increase ethanol sales by 17.5 million gallons per year. This project will replace 293 dispensers and 30 storage tanks at 15 fueling stations in Chicago, Maywood, Cicero, Des Plaines, and Wilmington.
- $700 Million for Biofuels Producers: As part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, USDA is providing up to $700 million in funding through a new Biofuel Producer Program. The Program will support agricultural producers that rely on biofuels producers as a market for their agricultural products. By making payments to producers of biofuels, the funding will help maintain a viable and significant market for such agricultural products. Producers can expect awards before the end of April.
- $100 Million for Biofuels Infrastructure: USDA announced $100 million in new funding for grants for biofuels infrastructure to make it easier for gas stations to sell and to significantly increase the use of higher blends of bioethanol and biodiesel at the pump. The funding will provide grants to refueling and distribution facilities for the cost of installation, retrofitting or otherwise upgrading of infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends of E15 and greater or fuel containing biodiesel blends B-20 and greater. USDA will also make funding available to support biofuels for railways as a means of assisting with supply chains and helping to reduce costs for consumer goods and transportation.
- Spurring a New Market in Sustainable Aviation Fuels: USDA is partnering across the federal government to advance the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels in American transportation and investing billions of dollars in research and agricultural activities to improve aircraft fuel efficiency:
- A new Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to inspire the dramatic increase in the production of sustainable aviation fuels to at least 3 billion gallons per year by 2030.
- New and ongoing funding opportunities to support sustainable aviation fuel projects and fuel producers totaling up to $4.3 billion; and
- An increase in R&D activities to demonstrate new technologies that can achieve at least a 30% improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency.
These important investments will assist in the development, transportation, and distribution of low-carbon fuels, better market access for producers, and more affordable and cleaner fuels for American consumers.