116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — The E15 blend of ethanol, which contains a higher percentage of the corn-based fuel and is typically about 10 cents per gallon cheaper, will become available at most Iowa gas stations under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Reynolds held a ceremonial bill-signing at a Central Iowa farm near Prairie City, about a half-hour east of Des Moines.
“I proposed the biofuels bill because Iowa farmers and renewable fuel producers are the economic backbone of our state, because Iowans and Americans deserve access to a reliable, less expensive, environmentally friendly option, and Iowans have delivered,” Reynolds said. “And in doing so, we’ve sent a message that can’t be ignored: America’s energy is growing right here in Iowa’s fields.”
Under the new law, Iowa gas stations must by 2026 offer the E15 blend of ethanol in at least one pump. The lower E10 ethanol blend is currently the most common at Iowa gas stations.
Just more than 10 percent of Iowa gas stations currently offer E15, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
The law allows smaller stations to apply for an exemption to the requirement, and makes financial assistance available for stations that will need to upgrade their infrastructure to store and provide the E15 ethanol blend.
The law also maintains and in some cases increases tax credits for other biofuels.
“This is a really big deal,” said Will Cannon, who operates the farm that hosted Wednesday’s bill-signing event. Cannon also is a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. “As a farmer here in the state of Iowa, this bill means a lot to me. Ethanol means a lot to me.”
House File 2128 passed the Iowa Legislature with broad, bipartisan support: it passed the House, 81-13 and the Senate, 42-3.
Proponents of ethanol say it supports Iowa’s agriculture economy, reduces reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels, making it more environmentally friendly. Critics argue ethanol can actually be harmful to the environment in part because it is a less-efficient fuel and it creates an incentive for farmers to produce even more corn, which produces more carbon dioxide emissions and endangers water quality.
In previous years, the E15 ethanol blend has not been available during the summer months because of federal regulations on air quality. Former President Donald Trump’s administration attempted to make E15 available year-round, but a judge struck down that attempt over procedural questions. President Joe Biden’s administration plans to make E15 available this summer through an emergency declaration, citing the impact of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on fuel prices.
Reynolds is working with other Midwest governors on a more long-term solution that would enable those states to sell E15 year-round.
“Very grateful for the temporary waiver that the President (Biden) did this year, but it is temporary, and it’s time that we finish the job,” Reynolds said.
The farm that hosted Wednesday’s bill-signing is owned by Gordon Wassenaar, who has served in leadership roles at both the state and national level for organizations representing both corn and soybean farmers, and in 2011 was awarded the U.S. Grains Council Lifetime Achievement Award.
The bill-signing comes as Iowa and the nation are experiencing record gas prices. In Iowa, the average cost for a gallon of regular unleaded on May 13 was an all-time high of $4.13, according to AAA. The national average is $4.52.
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