The latest round of USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) closed this week. HBIIP provides $100 million in grants to pay up to 50 percent of the cost of equipment for station owners to add or upgrade equipment and sell higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85. It is separate from the $500 million provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Chief Marketing Officer Ron Lamberty says they were able to assist fuel retailers throughout this latest application window. “ACE is happy to have assisted marketers who applied for grants for nearly a hundred new retail locations as well as some blending facilities, and we appreciate USDA HBIIP Program Manager Jeff Carpenter’s efforts to make the program more accessible to retailers, by reaching out to ACE and others early in the process and allowing us to provide our observations and input we received from our industry partners in previous rounds of the program,” said Lamberty.
“Over the summer and fall, ACE promoted USDA’s biofuel infrastructure program through our flexfuelforward.com website, advertising in c-store industry publications, and by connecting with retailers in person at trade shows and a workshop we hosted featuring Carpenter and some top fuel marketers. We also made it easier for retailers to find information online with a new portal on flexfuelforward.com to sign up for updates, and submit questions and concerns surrounding the program, and we updated the short, fuel marketer-focused videos featuring Jeff (Carpenter) and breaking down the daunting HBIIP application process in to smaller pieces we hope are easier to follow and complete.”
Lamberty says ACE looks forward to providing input next week on how to improve future rounds of funding, including making funds more accessible to small marketers. “As this HBIIP deadline approached, we heard from prospective high-blend retailers waiting to apply for upcoming IRA funds, citing 75 percent cost share versus HBIIP’s 50 percent. Marketers know 75 percent is only an option, but 50 percent max is a certainty this round. If HBIIP applications end up being down, it’s an indication of increased interest in the next round, not decreased interest in this one.”