Sec. Vilsack announces major biofuel investments

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced major new spending for biofuel infrastructure this week at an event in Illinois. Where is the money going?

Vilsack joined Senator Tammy Duckworth in East Central Illinois to announce hundreds of millions of dollars in new biofuel investments, funded through the just-enacted Inflation Reduction Act. Renewable Fuels Association Head, Geoff Cooper, says the spending on ethanol and other cleaner-burning biofuels is key during a period of high inflation.

“This is not the last time we will experience national average gasoline prices of around $5, or certainly, more than $4 per gallon. So, we know that one of the best hedges against that is blending more biofuels into our fuel supply, and specifically, ethanol, because it is lower costs, it is produced domestically, and we have an ample supply here,” said Cooper.

The USDA says the new infrastructure spending will help 4,600 retailers boost domestic supplies of clean fuels. Cooper says that will help the bottom line of both ethanol refiners and corn growers.

“4,600 retail stations are a lot of stations. Today, we are selling E15 at roughly 3,000 stations across the U.S., and about 4,500 stations have E85 today. So, this single investment, this $500 million investment, would more than double the number of stations that are offering blends like E15, and that is going to be quite significant,” Cooper said.

The new bill also extends several biofuel tax credits, creates new credits for sustainable aviation fuel, and boosts support for carbon capture and storage.

Currently, the average price for a gallon of E15 gas is $3.74, while the average for a gallon of E85 gas is $3.02.


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