Earlier this week U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a round of awards that will increase consumer access to biofuels including ethanol and biodiesel.
The USDA plans to invest over $25 million in 59 projects across 14 states from California to New Hampshire. The money is derived from the Inflation Reduction Act under a program known as the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). All of this is part of a broader $500 million spending package to be doled out under the auspices of the HBIIP, $50 million of which was made available this past December (2022).
This week’s announcement makes public the first round of actual grants awarded. The initial $25.8 million will help increase access to approximately 154.8 million gallons of biofuels. For those interested, simple math means the government will one-time spend an average of just under 17 cents per gallon for permanent infrastructure ranging from storage tanks and pumps to piping, heating and electrical systems needed to support the dispensing of biofuels throughout the economy.
California and Minnesota were the biggest winners in the first round of grants, with California receiving funding for 21 projects or partial projects totaling over $7.7 million and 49.9 million gallons of biofuels. Minnesota benefited slightly more in funding, with $8.7 million shared by 18 projects or partial projects totalling over 9 million gallons.
The largest single project in terms of fuel volume (34 million gallons of biodiesel) will benefit three states, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. The project will retrofit fuel storage tanks for biodiesel and add blending equipment at locations in Bronx, NY and East Providence, RI at a cost of 3.7 cents per gallon.
Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel help our country in a variety of ways; they are largely derived from homegrown crops and processed domestically which supports our overall economy and assists in keeping the U.S. energy independent. In addition, fuels with biofuels as added components generally burn cleaner with a lower overall carbon footprint than fuels derived exclusively from crude oil. As further HBIIP grants are announced, more communities, companies, and consumers will benefit from fuels derived from America’s agriculture industry.