U.S. Farm Belt lawmakers introduce bills to boost biofuel industry

The bills, which include billions of dollars in grants and tax credits, could get swept into broader infrastructure or spending bills snaking through Congress.

Choices at the gas pump including ethanol or no ethanol gas are seen in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo/File Photo

A bipartisan group of U.S. Farm Belt lawmakers will introduce a trio of bills aimed at boosting public investment in biofuels as the industry tries to combat a White House push for electric vehicles, according to copies of the bills seen by Reuters.

The bills, which include billions of dollars in grants and tax credits, could get swept into broader infrastructure or spending bills snaking through Congress. Democrats hold a thin majority in both houses, and individual Democratic lawmakers are likely to leverage that position to extract regional benefits from the broader bills.

The biofuel industry is trying to position itself as lower-carbon bridge to an electric car future. Biden is counting on a surging electric car market to hit his target for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

One funding bill, co-introduced by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would provide $1 billion in grants to pay for pumps and storage tanks with higher gasoline blends of biofuels like corn ethanol.

A second bill introduced by the two senators would provide a $200 per-car tax credit for automakers who make "flex fuel" vehicles that can run on virtually any blend of gasoline or ethanol.


"Diversifying our fuel supply, introducing higher blends of biofuels to the market, and making sure retailers have the right equipment to take advantage of these blends will promote clean energy and support our rural economies," Klobuchar said in written statement provided to Reuters.

Reuters first reported the lawmakers' plan on June 21.

A third bill, sponsored by Klobuchar and Republican U.S. Senator John Thune, of South Dakota, would give fuel blenders and retailers like gas stations a tax credit for each gallon of fuel containing 15% or greater ethanol content that they sell.

"Biofuels not only support a critical market for our farmers and deepen American energy security, but they offer a lower-carbon fuel for domestic use and export without the unresolved costs, labor issues, and resource constraints of the all-in push for vehicle electrification," Thune said in a written statement.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Heather Timmons and Christopher Cushing)

What To Read Next
As Mikkel Pates approaches his retirement from Agweek after 44 years in journalism, he talks to Rose Dunn about learning TV, covering ag's characters and scandals and looking toward the future.
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.
Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association were pleased with items in Gov. Tim Walz's "One Minnesota Budget" proposal.
John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation recently announced they had come to an agreement that will lead to more accessible repairs to John Deere equipment.