News & Ideas

ACE Helping Retailers Move More Ethanol Gallons Via USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program

Sioux Falls, SD (October 8, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is holding events at fuel retail stations in Minnesota and Iowa and has invited the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and other stakeholders to join them for an announcement from Secretary Perdue regarding USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). ACE Senior Vice President and Market Development Director Ron Lamberty, a former convenience store owner, operator, and supplier himself, will attend the Iowa event. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will also attend, and Secretary Perdue and Senator Grassley will tour ACE plant member Golden Grain Energy, LLC in Mason City, Iowa, prior to the announcement at a Casey’s location in Ankeny, Iowa.

“ACE thanks Secretary Perdue for his leadership on HBIIP,” Lamberty said. “We were happy to play a part in helping several marketers work through the application process, including a long-time Nebraska retailer, who applied to add 11 more E15 and flex fuel sites, and to assist San Diego E85 wholesaler Pearson Fuels as they applied for HBIIP funds for 122 California retail E85 locations. We’re pleased both companies were approved to receive HBIIP funding.”

“Pearson recently announced their 200th E85 location and sold nearly 35 million gallons of E85 in California last year. That’s 29 million gallons of ethanol – 25 million more than if those customers had used E10,” Lamberty added. “Pearson does a great job marketing E85, and if these new locations perform like the others have, that’s 20 to 25 million new gallons of E85 in California. The E85 Pearson sells could use the entire output of a small ethanol plant within 18 months. That’s as much new ethanol volume as a billion gallons of E15.”

“The HBIIP application process wasn’t simple, and we appreciate ACE’s assistance in navigating that process,” said Greg Jones, Pearson’s Director of Business Development. “ACE’s video series breaking down the grant application, and Ron Lamberty’s help translating USDA’s HBIIP terminology and rules for us allowed us to submit grant requests for quite a few more locations than we had originally planned.”

ACE fielded information requests from fuel marketers from Connecticut to California, introduced some retailers to ethanol supporters with funding for grant writing, and assisted others with the application process.

“We received feedback about the application process from many of the marketers we worked with and look forward to working with USDA on ways to make any future grant programs more navigable for small retailers,” Lamberty said.

Following USDA’s rollout of HBIIP, ACE launched a series of fuel marketer-focused videos produced in coordination with USDA on the website, along with a digital advertising campaign to encourage retailers to apply for a HBIIP grant. ACE has now shifted focus to helping retailers understand they may already have the equipment they need to add E15 by encouraging retailers to use the Flex Check E15 compatibility tool.

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