116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — More Iowa gas stations will be selling a higher blend of ethanol under a proposed mandate that is about to become state law.
State lawmakers on Tuesday approved with strong, bipartisan support a proposal to require that most Iowa gas stations sell the E15 blend of ethanol in at least one pump.
To become law, the legislation now needs only the signature of Gov. Kim Reynolds, who made the proposal. She told reporters on Tuesday that the E15 requirement will help the state’s economy and its corn farmers: Just more than half of corn grown in Iowa goes to ethanol plants.
“(The mandate is needed) to really help sustain and grow an industry that’s really important to, first of all, to our economy, and to farmers,” Reynolds said. “It’s a good deal and it’s environmentally friendly. So it checks about every box that we’re looking for.”
If the proposal is passed into law as expected, all Iowa gas stations with at least two pumps would be required to make the corn-based E15 ethanol blend available for sale on at least one pump. E15 is a higher ethanol blend than E10, currently the most prominent ethanol blend sold at gas stations.
The proposal contains multiple ways for smaller stations to obtain an exemption from the requirement, and state-funded assistance for stations that will need to upgrade their equipment in order to store and sell the higher ethanol blend.
“What this does is tell the state, it tells the nation, it tells our region that E15 is important in Iowa, and we are going to be the leader in the E15 market, in production and in selling it,” said Sen. Waylon Brown, a Republican from Osage.
Some of the opposition came from free-market Republicans, who said they voted against the bill because it is a government mandate on what private businesses should sell.
“I do support E15 in every way that I can, but I don’t think it’s the government’s job to use their big club to make things happen,” said Sen. Dennis Guth, a Republican from Klemme.
Federal regulations prohibit the E15 ethanol blend from being sold during the summer.
But President Joe Biden recently announced in Iowa his administration’s plan to take emergency action to allow for the sale of E15 this summer. And Reynolds is working with a bipartisan group of more than a half-dozen other Midwest governors on a more permanent solution to keeping E15 available for sale in the summer.
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