Cindy Axne. (photo from Axne’s office)

Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says the initial draft of the Democrats’ infrastructure plan in the U.S. House now reserves $1 billion to promote the use of ethanol and biodiesel over the next eight years.

“To issue grants directly to fuel retailers so that they can convert their existing pumps to deliver higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel,” Axne says. “They can install new pumps or related infrastructure, retrofit terminal operations, etc., so that they can carry more ethanol and biodiesel.”

According to Axne, it will be “quite some time” before electric models make up the majority of vehicles in use in America and biofuels are a greener alternative to gasoline and to hybrid electric vehicles with a liquid fuel back-up.

“There are multiple sectors of transportation that should also look to other opportunities, so this is a win-win,” Axne says. “This puts money in the pockets of Iowans while literally reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”

A recent study led by a Harvard University environmental health professor found carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol were 46% lower than from gasoline. Axne says she’s pretty confident the billion dollars for biofuels will stay in the infrastructure package, but she concedes it hasn’t been an easy fight to get it included in the initial draft.

“I’ve been handing out flyers in, literally, the chambers, educating people about biofuels. We’ve been hammering this thing home and, I think it sunk in that: ‘Listen, as we move towards this, let’s not forget a tool that really can move us in the right direction immediately,'” Axne says, “and that’s biofuels.”

The bill, which Democrats call their Build Back Better plan, will be considered in the U.S. House Agriculture Committee today.