Klobuchar introduces 3 biofuel bills

By Erin Voegele | June 30, 2021

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on June 30 announced the introduction of a package of bipartisan bills to expand the availability of low-carbon renewable fuels, incentivize the use of higher blends of biofuels, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Biofuel Infrastructure and Agricultural Product Market Expansion Act, co-led by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would expand the availability of low-carbon renewable fuels in the marketplace by providing for federal investment in renewable fuel infrastructure, suck as blender pumps and storage tanks.

The Clean Fuels Vehicle Act, also co-led by Ernst, would incentivize the manufacture of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of utilizing higher blends of clean fuels by creating a $200 refundable tax credit for each FFV manufactured for the light-duty vehicle market. The credit would be made available to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and sunset after 10 years.

The Low Carbon Biofuel Credit Act, co-led by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., would create a tax credit for each gallon of fuel containing 15 percent or more ethanol content. The bill would allow an ethanol blender or fuel retailer to claim a 5 cent tax credit for each gallon of E15 blended or sold, and a 10 cent tax credit for each gallon of greater of E15 blended or sold. The credit would be fully refundable and transferable for small retailers.

The bills are supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol and Poet LLC.

The RFA issued a statement in support of the Biofuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act and the Clean Fuels Vehicle Act.  “These two bills recognize that American-made ethanol can and should play a central role in our nation’s efforts to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “Today’s ethanol already cuts GHG emissions by nearly half compared to gasoline, and the industry is on a path toward producing ethanol with net-zero emissions by mid-century or sooner. But our nation cannot fully capitalize on ethanol’s low-carbon benefits unless more retail stations offer higher blends and more vehicles are produced that can run on flex fuels like E85. The legislation introduced today would help address both of those marketplace bottlenecks while supporting rural communities across the heartland at the same time. We thank Sens. Klobuchar and Ernst for their vision and bipartisan commitment to a cleaner, greener, and more prosperous future.”

ACE also applauded introduction of the three bills. “When infrastructure legislation discussions began earlier this year, ACE called on congressional leaders to provide incentives for retailers to sell E15 and E85 and for automakers to resume the production of flexible fuel vehicles to achieve immediate climate benefits from clean energy infrastructure,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “ACE members are pleased to see the introduction of these bipartisan bills, which include our recommendations and would help capitalize on ethanol’s ability to make near- and long-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“As Congress and the Administration explore ways to lower the carbon intensity of U.S. transportation fuels, we are encouraged by efforts like these bills that seek to level the playing field so that ethanol can compete fairly and meet the demand for low carbon fuels,” Jennings continued. “No other transportation fuel source can offer the climate saving benefits ethanol provides and we encourage Congress to follow the lead of Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Ernst, and Sen. Thune in acknowledging ethanol’s ability to rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector.”

Growth Energy also spoke out in support of the bills. “Higher ethanol blends continue to grow in popularity among drivers looking to save money while protecting our climate,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “This legislative push offers a means to put higher biofuel blends within reach of drivers faster than ever, so we can make a greater difference for the climate today. In fact, a nationwide transition to E15 could slash emissions by 17.62 million tons per year – equal to removing approximately 3.85 million vehicles from the road. E15 is also a cheaper fuel averaging $0.05 to $0.10 cheaper per gallon when compared to regular gasoline. We applaud Senator Klobuchar and her colleagues for making biofuels a top priority for congressional leaders, and we urge lawmakers to take advantage of this opportunity to support America’s farm communities, save drivers money, and reduce carbon emissions.”