137 retail biodiesel outlets in Iowa receive pandemic relief
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced Nov. 30 the awardees of the Renewable Fuels Retail Recovery program administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The program offers relief funds to help gas stations, truck stops, co-ops, and other renewable fuels retailers recover from the business disruptions and lost demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, 101 ethanol projects and 137 biodiesel projects at 167 fuel retail locations around the state have been approved for relief funds. The Renewable Fuels Retail Recovery grant program is funded by $7 million of CARES Act money allocated by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
"I'm glad we are able to support so many renewable fuels retailers as they continue to battle demand disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," Naig said. "Renewable fuels are a win for everyone―consumers, retailers, farmers and rural communities. Restoring renewable fuels offerings around the state is a great way to support our farmers and it gives all Iowans access to more affordable, cleaner-burning fuels."
As Americans began spending more time at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, fuel demands dropped drastically. As a result, more than 70 ethanol plants across the country idled and 70 more cut production capacity, jeopardizing jobs in rural communities and further reducing commodity prices. As of April 10, national ethanol production had dropped 44 percent compared to the same time in 2019, according to a report by the Renewable Fuels Association.
Iowa leads the nation in renewable fuels production. The state is home to 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 4.5 billion gallons annually and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 400 million gallons annually, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
A complete list of Renewable Fuels Retail Recovery grant recipients is available at iowaagriculture.gov/grants.