The USDA announced this week it will provide new funding under the Higher Blend Infrastructure Program (HBIP) to help gasoline retailers and distributors to upgrade infrastructure for the distribution of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. USDA is earmarking $5.6 million in grants to seven states designed to expand the retail availability of higher blend renewable fuels by 59.5 million gallons. States included in the grant agreement include California, Delaware, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and South Dakota. The money is earmarked for the replacement of USTs and dispensers at retail sites in the seven states.

In addition, the USDA is making $100 million in new HBIP grants available to energy marketers nationwide. The funding will provide grants to refueling and distribution facilities for the cost of installation, retrofitting or otherwise upgrading of infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends of E15 and greater or fuel containing biodiesel blends B-20 and greater. The new grants will benefit both motor fuel and heating oil marketers. Details on the timing and application process for obtaining HBIP funding is still being worked out by the USDA. EMA expects these details will be released shortly. EMA will monitor developments closely and report back as soon as the application process is available.