Iowa legislature renews blender pump funding

Source: By Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017

Iowa’s legislature has voted to secure another year of funding for the state’s blender pump program, which has successfully led to millions of dollars’ worth of investment in new pumps and equipment that offer the choice of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends to consumers.

“The Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) has played an imperative role in expanding consumer access to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Policy Director Grant Menke. “Demand for renewable fuels has more momentum now than ever. In a tough budget year we are very grateful to Governor Branstad and the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee for making this successful program a priority.”

House File 643, which the Iowa legislature passed April 20, included funding for RFIP at $3 million for fiscal year 2018, ending June 30, 2018, as part of the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. The bill now goes to Governor Terry Branstad for his consideration.

Menke stressed the importance of ongoing funding. “Continuation of RFIP will lead to millions more dollars in private investment and economic activity,” he said. “Ongoing funding would open up the market even more for access at the pump to cleaner burning fuels made right here in Iowa.”

Interest amongst Iowa retailers in offering renewable fuels is at an all-time high. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2017, the RFIP has awarded 92 projects with $4.4 million in state grants to upgrade infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. This funding leveraged two to three times that amount in private investment.

The RFIP offers cost-share grants to Iowa retailers wishing to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer E15, E85 and/or biodiesel blends. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends.