Driving Market Expansion for Biofuels

Following the USDA's rollout of $100 million in higher blend infrastructure grant funding, Growth Energy hosted a retailer retreat with attendees representing more than 7,000 retail sites and 13 billion gallons of fuel annually.
By Emily Skor | October 15, 2022

The summer driving season may be over, but market development opportunities for higher bioethanol blends are growing faster than ever. In just the last few months, Growth Energy celebrated major new investments in higher biofuel blends, hosted an exciting retailer retreat, and even welcomed a new vice president of market development to the team. With this summer’s spike in fuel costs and the conflict in Ukraine, regulators are recognizing what we already knew—market expansion of biofuels has the power to drive down prices at the pump, provide greater energy independence and help us reach our climate ambitions.

To realize that vision, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $100 million in new infrastructure grants to support sales of higher biofuel blends through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The $100 million will be available in competitive grants for projects aimed at expansion of sales and use of renewable fuels. To help retailers navigate the program, the Growth Energy Market Development team hosted a webinar in partnership with USDA and CSP ahead of the program announcement.

To officially announce the new HBIIP investment, Secretary Vilsack and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth visited a Casey's in LeRoy, Illinois, to highlight the economic and environmental benefits of higher blends of biofuels. It was a welcome announcement for retailers across the country who will be able to expand options at the pump and offer consumers a cleaner, more affordable fuel. Secretary  Vilsack also reaffirmed the USDA’s ongoing commitment to ensuring a new wave of growth for higher biofuel blends, and our team at Growth Energy is already working hand in hand with our retail partners to help them take full advantage of this opportunity.

As part of that effort, we hosted a retailer retreat immediately after the announcement. Attendees of the retreat represented more than 7,000 retail sites and 13 billion gallons of fuel annually. Together, the Growth Energy team and retail leaders discussed the current retail environment, E15 market and supply expansion, and the USDA’s new grants.

But leaders at the USDA are not the only ones supporting biofuels infrastructure. Earlier this summer, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, an initiative that includes key provisions to expand the use of low-carbon biofuels, including investments in infrastructure. This law will help maximize our industry’s contributions to a cleaner future and jump-start climate progress, providing $500 million in funding for additional biofuels infrastructure through 2031.

Our team at Growth Energy could not be more optimistic about the recent progress in market development—not only on the federal side, but also within our own team. Just last month, we announced that retail leader Jake Comer has joined us as vice president of market development.
Comer will lead the domestic market expansion of higher ethanol-blended fuel and bolster our market development efforts with cutting-edge consumer engagement initiatives. He brings more than a decade of retail fuel experience, having served in leadership positions on the fuel teams at Kum & Go, Murphy USA and, most recently, at Casey’s where he served as director of retail fuels.

This progress is a welcome step forward for the biofuel industry, but we won’t stop there. We will continue to remind lawmakers of the many ways this industry is doing its part to ensure we meet this administration’s climate goals and push them to support pro-biofuels legislation. In the months ahead, we will also work with our retail partners to make sure our support among voters translates into concrete action on a permanent E15 fix, so drivers can access lower-cost E15 year-round, nationwide in the summers to come. With so many new infrastructure investments now underway, those opportunities have the potential to drive more growth than ever before.

Author: Emily Skor
CEO, Growth Energy
[email protected]