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21 states getting grants for higher ethanol blend pumps

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending $100 million to add 5,000 blender pumps in 21 states in an effort to handle E15, or gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol.

The USDA estimates that the investment will more than double the number of stations that offer intermediate blends of ethanol, mainly E15 fuel levels, nationwide.

The move, which USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Sept. 10, is part of a department grant program, the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership.

"The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one approach USDA is using to aggressively pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy to create new markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, help Americans save money on their energy bills, support America's clean energy economy, cut carbon pollution and reduce dependence on foreign oil and costly fossil fuels," said Vilsack in a statement.

The BIP, announced in May, authorized the agency to invest $100 million to double the number of renewable fuel blender pumps that can supply consumers with higher ethanol blends, such as E15 and E85.

The announcement was made as the Environmental Protection Agency proposed increasing the amount of ethanol required in the overall fuel supply, although it lowered the amounts required by the Clean Air Act, angering both critics and supporters of ethanol.

The boating industry has long opposed introducing E15 into the main fuel supply because it has been shown to damage boat engines, and it is in fact prohibited by the EPA for fueling boats.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association spoke out against the move, saying it includes the popular boating states of Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

“As more and more E15 enters the market, the likelihood of misfueling increases. NMMA remains steadfast in our efforts to oppose the development of E15,” said the NMMA in a newsletter.

“We are currently working with our stakeholder partners on a strategy that counters the government’s award program and continue to call on Congress to make the legislative changes to fix the dangerous ethanol mandate.”


The Outdoor Recreation Boom Continues

Bombardier Recreational Products saw revenue jump 28 percent to $4.2 billion for the year, but dipping in its fiscal Q3 due to supply chain constraints.Coming off a record second quarter, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) continued to benefit from the outdoor-recreation boom. The Valcourt, Quebec-based company saw a CAN$1.16 billion ($912.3 million) gain in revenue to CAN5.3 billion ($4.2 billion), a 28 percent increase in revenue for the 9-month period, which ended on Oct. 31. However, revenue was down 5.2 percent for its fiscal Q3 to CAN1.58 billion (1.3 billion), which the company attributed to continued issues in its supply chain. Net income was also down for the quarter, but up significantly for the year, jumping nearly 500 percent to CAN586 million ($460 million), setting a record for BRP. “In this challenging environment, our team’s agility allowed us to continue to outpace the Powersports industry in retail sales, gain market share and deliver stronger than expected profitability, translating into record results year-to-date,” said president and CEO José Boisjoli in a statement. ”Our third quarter results reflect the previously anticipated decrease of product deliveries due to supply chain disruptions.” For the marine segment, revenues increased by 26 percent over last year, up CAN28 million ($21.9 million) to CAN $136.3 million ($107 million). BRP said a higher volume of boats sold and a lack of sales incentives drove the increase, which was partially offset by unfavorable exchange rates. Boisjoli said he expects BRP’s robust efforts to mitigate supply-chain issues — the primarily cause of its fiscal Q3 dip — to begin to take effect in 2022. “Building on this momentum, we expect to generate further solid growth in FY23, driven by the sustained consumer interest in powersports, demand from new product introductions, the upcoming significant inventory replenishment cycle and additional production capacity,” Boisjoli said.

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