21 states will get ethanol blender pumps under USDA grants

21 states will get ethanol blender pumps under USDA grants

USDA ethanol blender pump grant program announces nearly 5,000 awards in 21 states

During a visit to Illinois on Thursday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said nearly 5,000 blender pumps in 21 states will be added thanks to a previously announced USDA grant program.

The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership, announced in May, supports adding infrastructure to fueling states that will allow consumers better access to renewable fuels.

USDA's Farm Service Agency managed the BIP applications, which totaled more than $130 million in requests, outpacing the $100 million that is available.

Related: Corn farmers add to blender pump funding

USDA ethanol blender pump grant program announces nearly 5,000 awards in 21 states (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

"The quality and geographic diversity of the applications, backed by supportive state and private partners, demonstrate the strong demand across the country for cleaner, more affordable fuel," said Secretary Vilsack.

Vilsack said BIP is one approach USDA is using to pursue investments in U.S. renewable energy to create new markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, help consumers save money and limit dependence on foreign oil.

How blender pump funding works
A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10% 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.

Through BIP, USDA will award competitive grants, matched by states, to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of ethanol.

BIP funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example E15 and E85, at vehicle fueling locations.

The matching contributions may be used for these items or for related costs such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.

Related: Ethanol group: 'Consumer choice' priority for USDA in blender pump program

This partnership will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth and the jobs that come with it, and ultimately give consumers more choices at the pump, USDA says.

Though funding amounts for each state will be announced at a later date, the preliminary list of state finalists and estimated pumps includes:

Colorado 28; Florida 892; Illinois 428; Indiana 110; Iowa 187; Kansas 174; Louisiana 110; Michigan 89; Minnesota 620; Missouri 171; Nebraska 80; North Carolina 190; North Dakota 90; Ohio 148; Pennsylvania 308; South Dakota 74; Texas 763; Virginia-Maryland 191; West Virginia 107; Wisconsin 120.

“Today’s announcement by the USDA is a tremendous win for American consumers," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

"The steps by the administration and Secretary Vilsack will ensure higher ethanol blends, such as E15, penetrate the marketplace, and provide consumers with a choice and savings they deserve," he said.

For more information about BIP, visit the Energy Programs website.

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