U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies have been directed to use more biofuels. USDA agencies will adopt more vehicles that run on biodiesel or E-85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Agencies must fuel their vehicles with E-15, E-85, and biodiesel where available; prioritize the purchase of E-15 for gasoline vehicles without E-85 capability; and purchase renewable diesel blends for diesel vehicles without B-20 capability.
As of fiscal-year 2019, the USDA owns more than 16,000 flex-fuel vehicles that can operate on gasoline or E-85. The USDA also owns more than 3,700 diesel vehicles that can operate on biodiesel blends at appropriate locations. In addition, 14,000 gas vehicles are E-15-compatible. Although those flex-fuel and diesel fuel categories comprise more than half of the USDA fleet, biofuel consumption comprises less than 4% of USDA's annual fuel use.
According to a memo from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, these actions have the potential to increase the USDA’s annual consumption of E-15 by 9 million gallons, consumption of E-85 by 10 million gallons, and consumption of biodiesel and renewable diesel blends by 3 million gallons.
USDA will make $100 million in grants available this year for the newly created Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program for fuel providers in install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, and related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel.
“Expanding nationwide infrastructure that offers biofuels and increasing the number of biofuel capable vehicles in our fleet will increase the use of environmentally friendly fuel with decreased emissions, driving demand for our farmers and improving the air we breathe,” Perdue said in a statement.