Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week directed Department of Agriculture employees to acquire alternative fueled vehicles when replacing conventionally fueled vehicles. 

USDA owns and operates one of the largest civilian fleets in the Federal Government. 

Through the directive, USDA is moving to acquire E85- or biodiesel-capable vehicles that meet USDA mission requirements instead of those that take conventional gasoline. 

This will occur over time during the normal fleet renewal process. USDA currently has 37,000 vehicles and replaces approximately 3,000 every year. 

Additionally, USDA will make $100 million in grants available this year for the newly created Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. 

Through the program, biodiesel distribution facilities will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit or upgrade fuel storage and related infrastructure to sell ethanol and biodiesel. 

USDA plans to publish application deadlines and other program information in the Federal Register this spring. 

Secretary Perdue says both actions “underscore that USDA is putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to increased biofuels usage.”