Klobuchar introducing bills with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and John Thune (R-SD)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced the introduction of a new 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 emissions. 

"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,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This biofuels infrastructure package will make cleaner fuels more accessible – ultimately benefiting both the economy and the environment.”

“Increasing access to biofuel is critical to our rural economies in Iowa, and across the Midwest, and offers cleaner and more affordable choices for consumers. These bills build on our bipartisan work to support farmers and the biofuel industry who feed and fuel the world,” said Senator Ernst.  

“Homegrown biofuels, especially higher octane blends like E15, offer readily available emissions reductions that are mistakenly being overlooked in the current energy debate,” said Senator Thune. “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. This bill will help further expand consumer access to E15, building off the long-sought ability to sell the fuel year-round, which was secured in 2019.”

Co-led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), the Biofuel Infrastructure and Agricultural Product Market Expansion Act would expand the availability of low-carbon renewable fuels in the marketplace, resulting in cleaner air, lower fuel process, and rural economic vitality. This legislation would provide for federal investment in renewable fuel infrastructure like blender pumps and storage tanks, allowing small businesses across the nation to provide cleaner and more affordable options to American drivers.

Building on this effort to diversify the use of renewable fuels in the automotive industry, 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. The bill would create 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 a period of 10 years. 

The Low Carbon Biofuel Credit Act, co-led by Senator John Thune (R-SD), would create a tax credit for each gallon of fuel containing 15 percent or greater ethanol content (E15). 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 greater than E15 blended or sold.  This legislation would also allow the credit to be fully refundable and transferable for small retailers. 

This legislation is supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), and POET.

“These 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, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO. “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.”

“For too long, the oil industry has had a monopoly on what U.S. motorists put into their cars and trucks, which has limited choice, increased costs to consumers, and blocked cleaner fuels from the market. The Klobuchar-Thune bill is a step to level the playing field. The legislation’s incentives for gas stations to provide consumers with higher blends of ethanol like E15 is a timely signal about the role that ethanol can play, today, in decarbonizing the U.S. transportation sector,” said Dave Ellens, Vice President of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.

“Senator Klobuchar continues to demonstrate tremendous leadership in making sure that infrastructure discussions in Congress include consideration of modest investments to make low carbon and low cost ethanol blends available to consumers,” said Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO. “We commend her and Senators Ernst and Thune for joining in this important bipartisan legislation to support retailers in offering E15 and higher blends and the production and sale of flexible fuel vehicles.”

Klobuchar has been a strong advocate for investing in renewable fuel infrastructure and upholding the Clean Air Act’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Earlier this month, Klobuchar led a letter with 15 colleagues to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Economic Council (NEC) expressing concern about reports that the Biden administration is considering options to exempt oil refiners from their obligations under the RFS.

In February, Klobuchar and Thune introduced the Adopt GREET Act which would require the EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel. Klobuchar also led a letter with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to the EPA highlighting the need to restore integrity to the RFS by reviewing small refinery waivers, swiftly issuing a proposed rule for the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligation, and advancing the proposed E15 streamlining proposal.

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