Federal grants will make ethanol-based fuels more accessible

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(The Center Square) – Illinois agricultural officials are applauding federal grants that will make ethanol-based fuels more accessible to motorists.

The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program is designed to expand the reach of ethanol-based fuels. Illinois is one of 22 states that will be receiving part of the $19 million in funding.

“By increasing U.S.-made biofuel supply, we’re enhancing energy independence, reducing costs for American families, and creating new income streams for agricultural producers, while bringing good-paying jobs to rural communities,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Blending ethanol into gasoline has reduced fuel costs by about 25%, decreasing gas prices nationwide.

“There’s a huge price spread between 10% blends and E85, so that is what the consumer is trending towards, the cheaper option,” said Jon Rosenstiel, a Pearl City farmer and chairman of the ethanol action team for the National Corn Growers Association.

A portion of the funding will go toward installing E15 dispensers at Casey’s General Store gas stations and Love’s Travel Stops locations around the state.

Illinois-based Piasa Enterprises Inc. will be using a $200,000 grant to install two 30,000 gallon biodiesel storage tanks at a distribution center in Hartford, projecting a 2 million gallon increase in biodiesel sales.

“Most of the corn organizations are working towards high blends, but in order to get to higher blends, we have to have the infrastructure there for it to happen,” said Rosenstiel.

USDA continues to accept applications for funding to expand access to domestic biofuels.

“Ethanol blends reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “It’s good for Illinois farmers, and it’s good for rural jobs.”

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