June 30 (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of U.S. Farm Belt lawmakers will introduce three bills on Tuesday to boost public investment in biofuels as the industry tries to combat the White House push for electric vehicles, according to copies of bills seen by Reuters.
The bills, which include billions of dollars in grants and tax credits, could be swept away by larger infrastructure or spending bills sneaking into Congress. Democrats hold a slim majority in both chambers, and individual Democratic lawmakers are likely to leverage this position to reap regional benefits from larger bills.
The biofuels industry is trying to position itself as a low carbon bridge to an electric car future. Biden relies on a booming electric car market to meet its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
A fundraising bill, jointly introduced by Democratic U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota and Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, would provide $ 1 billion in grants to pay for pumps and storage tanks with higher gasoline blends with biofuels like corn ethanol.
A second bill introduced by the two senators would offer a tax credit of $ 200 per car to automakers who manufacture “flex fuel” vehicles that can run on virtually any mixture of gasoline or ethanol.
“Diversifying our fuel supply, bringing higher blends of biofuels to market and ensuring that retailers have the right equipment to take advantage of these blends will promote clean energy and support our rural economies,” Klobuchar said in a written statement provided to Reuters.
Reuters first announced the plan to lawmakers on June 21.
A third bill, sponsored by Klobuchar and Republican U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota, would give fuel mixers and retailers like gas stations a tax credit for every gallon of fuel containing 15% or more of ethanol they sell.
“Biofuels not only support a critical market for our farmers and enhance US energy security, but they provide a low-carbon fuel for home use and for export without the unresolved costs, labor issues. ‘work and resource constraints of the global push for vehicle electrification,’ Thune said in a written statement.
Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Heather Timmons and Christopher Cushing
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