E85 Boondoggle of the Day: $5.5 Million DOE Grants for the SOS

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Now that the Department of Energy (DOE) has doled out some $25 billion to help automakers retool taxpayers—I mean, retrofit factories to build incrementally more fuel efficient vehicles than the ones built at the same locations previously—the agency is continuing its cash for anything environmental program. Our old friend E85 is the beneficiary of a $5.5 million handout as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money goes towards two noble goals sure to get the American economy on its feed—I mean feet. First up: “outreach.” Which is Fed-speak for pro-industry propaganda, presumably . . .

This topic area is aimed at increasing public awareness through national campaigns to inform the public on the benefits, safety and use requirements of higher ethanol blends up to E85. Projects that include materials as part of a dispenser display showing fuel energy content, mileage impact, costs per mile and greenhouse gas reductions are encouraged.

DOE has dedicated $2 million to this topic area and anticipates making five individual awards between $250,000 and $1 million per project. There is no cost-sharing requirements for this topic area.

Good luck spinning that lot. Second, “infrastructure.”

This topic area will fund projects that expand the infrastructure at retail fuel locations to accommodate ethanol blends up to E85. Individual projects may include modifications, upgrades or expansion of existing infrastructure at retail gas stations or the creation of new infrastructure to accommodate higher ethanol blends. Relevant infrastructure includes dispensing equipment, storage tanks and systems for tracking the amount of ethanol dispensed.

DOE has dedicated $3.5 million to this topic area and hopes to fund up to 30 individual projects with awards of $50,000 to $200,000 per project. Applicants must provide 50% cost share.

This type of subsidy isn’t doing squat for the E85 industry. Bottom line: even with a 50 percent reduction in the cost of installing the corn juice pumps, not enough people want the fuel to recoup the cash. What does that tell you?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Adonasetb Adonasetb on Aug 07, 2009

    In the Land of Trillion$ a paltry $5.5 million isn't noticed.

  • John B John B on Aug 07, 2009

    Chevrolet Malibu fuel economy, combined (4 cyl, 6 speed trans.): Gas 26 mpg. (9.0 litres/100 km.) E85 18 mpg. (13.1 litres/100 km.) Will E85 be cheaper to purchase? Yeah, right.

  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.
  • Slavuta I just though, with this rate we could make Cinco De Mayo a national holiday as well. Since we have tens of millions of American Mexicans, and probably more than African Americans
  • Wjtinfwb Well, it LOOKS pretty great for 36 years old and 356k miles! I've seen plenty of 2 decade newer trucks that looked like a shrapnel bomb went off inside and and exterior that looked worse. This owner got everything out of that truck it had. Time to let it retire to the farm.
  • Wjtinfwb Stellantis. They've gone from Hero to Zero in 24 months with some really stupid decisions and allowing politicians to influence their business. They also hung onto old products way too long and relied on RAM and Jeep to pull them through. RAM plays in the most competitive market of all, full-size trucks and competition is brutal with Ford and GM keeping their foot to the floor on development and improvement. Chrysler now has one model, a 5 year old van. Dodge made a living off old cars with stupendous power, that's gone with the mothballing of the Hemi. The Hornet is an overpriced joke. Now they have new Durango Pursuit's self-destruction because of a plastic oil cooler that self destructs and dumps oil into the coolant lunching the engine. Grand Cherokee, a staple of Jeep has not been well received and has limited power options due to canning the Hemi. Now they've got to build interest around the Hurricane turbo in-line 6 in trucks, Charger's and Jeeps. If that engine turns out to be problematic its likely lights out in Sterling Heights.