With the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluding its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, or HBIIP, for 2022, the Renewable Fuels Association is proud to have helped dozens of retailers with the program this year, which will help expand the availability of higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85 Flex Fuel.
RFA hosted webinars with more than 250 participants, thanks to the assistance of state retail organizations from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa. At the conclusion of the brief 90-day application window, the organization had helped over 40 companies with their applications. With the generous assistance from the National Corn Growers Association, RFA filed grant applications totaling more than $36 million, with matching retailer funds totaling more than $150 million. This level of investment means that the shift towards higher blends is real—and that they are here to stay, noted RFA Director Market Development Cassie Mullen; the grant applications represent $200 million in infrastructure funding that could lead to 1,000 more dispensers at more than 220 new E15 locations across 19 states.
“Another successful round of funding has come and gone, and RFA is excited about the enormous impact this could have on the industry,” Mullen said. “One exciting aspect of this round was the interest we saw from applicants in non-traditional ethanol states such as California. RFA helped retailers apply for 10 locations in California, and there may have been more than 100 sites that applied statewide. This could make a significant impact in a state where high fuel prices and environmental stewardship are major topics of conversation.”
Sheetz, which offers E15 and E85 at many of its locations across Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, worked with RFA to apply for funding at 67 new locations. “Over the last few months, we worked side-by-side with RFA and could not have gotten this over the finish line without their hard work and dedication,” said Sheetz Senior Petroleum Scheduler Joshua Jadlock. “This process is not always an easy one, but with our partners at RFA we were able to submit our application and hopefully bring a lot more ethanol into the marketplace.”
RFA has had a perfect success rate in assisting retailers to apply for and receive grants under this program; since 2020, RFA-supported grants led to infrastructure projects by 35 companies, totaling $74 million and covering 260 retail operations spanning 21 states. Going into 2023 and beyond, Mullen noted, more funds will become available for retailers thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides an additional $500 million for higher blend infrastructure. For more information, contact Mullen at [email protected].