116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES - Iowa motorists with flex-fuel vehicles may find more options for purchasing gasoline blended with higher levels of ethanol at service-station pumps thanks to a federal grant the state will be receiving, officials said Thursday.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership program has awarded a competitive grant to Iowa for its public-private 'Fueling Our Future 100” biofuels initiative, according to a joint announcement made by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. The state's revised application requested funding of about $5 million and final amounts will be announced by USDA officials in the near future, they said.
Iowa was among 21 states that will receive federal grants. USDA officials estimate that the BIP grants will support about 4,800 pumps at fueling stations across the country, including 187 pumps in Iowa.
'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,” according to a USDA statement.
'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. 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.”
The USDA funding renews Iowa's commitment to giving consumers choices at the fuel pump, according to Branstad and Northey, by helping add up to 100 new fueling sites in 18 months with an estimated 187 blender pumps to provide consumers with access to higher blends of ethanol.
The expanded choices from new fueling locations will lower costs for consumers, add value to agricultural products, enhance our nation's energy security and provide specific air quality benefits, according to a statement issued by the governor's office.
'This program will give Iowans more choices at the pump and greater access to clean-burning, home-grown renewable fuels,” Northey said in a statement. 'It is important we build the infrastructure that will allow Iowans to access and use the fuels we produce right here in our state.”
The federal grant will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to expand the existing Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. The program, which requires a private match, is expected to support about $10 million in higher ethanol blend projects in Iowa with a partnership of investment from retailers, the state, and federal government, according to Branstad's office.
Funds will be available to any interested retailer, cooperative or interested stakeholder to assist with installing infrastructure related components that are necessary for the delivery of the higher ethanol blended fuel. More information on the program will be announced upon grant agreement finalization.
'Our state is a proud leader in the production and use of homegrown ethanol and biodiesel,” Branstad said in a statement. 'I hope that other states will follow Iowa's leadership in an industry that supports agriculture, creates rewarding careers and increases family incomes in rural America, provides lower cost alternatives for consumers and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”