FAQ: In October 2015 USDA made $210 million available to be invested in renewable energy infrastructure through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership program. State and private partners match the federal funds to install blender pumps, and increase fuel options for consumers. Are retailers actually installing more blender pumps? Is this program working?
Answer: In late October 2015 U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is partnering with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists.
In May 2015, USDA announced the availability of $100 million in grants through the BIP, and that to apply states and private partners match the federal funding by a 1 to 1 ratio. USDA received applications requesting over $130 million, outpacing the $100 million that is available. With the matching commitments by state and private entities, the BIP is investing a total of $210 million to strengthen the rural economy.
Gives U.S. consumers more choice at the fuel pump
"This major investment in renewable energy infrastructure will give Americans more options that not only will suit their pocketbooks, but also will reduce our country's environmental impact and bolster our rural economy," said Vilsack.
"The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one more example of how federal funds can be leveraged by state and private partners to deliver better and farther reaching outcomes for taxpayers. The volume and diverse geographic locations of partners willing to support this infrastructure demonstrate the demand across the country for lower cost, cleaner, American-made fuels. Consumers will begin to see more of these pumps in a matter of months."
Total of 21 states are participating in BIP program
The 21 states participating in the BIP are Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The amount awarded to each state is at fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/energy-programs/bip/index.
The final awards announced in October were estimated to expand by infrastructure by 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations.
Program is increasing the number of blender pumps
A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10% ethanol, which limits the amount of renewable energy that consumers can purchase. The new partnership is increasing the number of pumps, storage and related infrastructure that offer higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, E85, and even intermediate combination blends.
USDA's Office of the Chief Economist released a comprehensive report on ethanol. The report, titled "U.S. Ethanol: An Examination of Policy, Production, Use, Distribution, and Market Interactions", brings clarity to the complex interaction of ethanol production with agricultural markets and government policies. The corn ethanol industry is the largest biofuel producer in the country, with production increasing from about 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to just over 14 billion gallons in 2014, stimulating economic activity in rural communities. Visit usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/EthanolExamination102015.pdf to read the complete report. BIP is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency. For more information visit fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/energy-programs/index