Gas stations in Iowa will offer E15 ethanol under recently signed law

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Gov. Kim Reynolds, center, speaks with Cassie Cannon, left, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Will Cannon, right, on Tuesday before signing a biofuels bill in Prairie City. The Cannons operate the farm where the signing ceremony took place. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gov. Kim Reynolds arrives Tuesday to sign a biofuels bill at a Prairie City farm. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks Tuesday before signing a biofuels bill at a Prairie City farm. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Governor Kim Reynolds speaks with farmer Gordon Wassenaar, right, on Tuesday before signing a biofuels bill. Wassenaar, who has held state and national leadership positions for organizations representing corn and soybean growers, owns the Prairie City farm where the project signing ceremony was held. of law. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES — E15 ethanol blend, which contains a higher percentage of corn-based fuel and is typically about 10 cents a gallon cheaper, will be available at most Iowa gas stations under a law signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday.

Reynolds held a bill-signing ceremony at a farm in central Iowa 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 Iowas and Americans deserve access to a reliable, less expensive and environmentally friendly option, and the Iowans have delivered,” said Reynolds. “And in doing so, we sent a message that can’t be ignored: America’s energy is growing right here in the fields of Iowa.”

Under the new law, gas stations in Iowa must by 2026 offer the E15 blend of ethanol in at least one pump. The low-E10 ethanol blend is currently the most common at Iowa gas stations.

Just over 10% of gas stations in Iowa currently offer E15, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

The law allows smaller stations to apply for an exemption from the requirement and makes financial assistance available to stations that will need to upgrade their infrastructure to store and supply the E15 ethanol blend.

The law also maintains and, in some cases, increases tax credits for other biofuels.

“It’s a really big deal,” said Will Cannon, who operates the farm that hosted Wednesday’s bill-signing event. Cannon is also 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 agricultural economy, reduces reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels, making it more environmentally friendly. Critics argue that ethanol may actually be harmful to the environment partly because it is a less efficient fuel and causes farmers to produce even more corn, which produces more carbon dioxide emissions and endangers water quality.

In previous years, the E15 ethanol blend was not available during the summer months due to federal air quality regulations. Former President Donald Trump’s administration tried to make the E15 available year-round, but a judge overturned that attempt over procedural issues. President Joe Biden’s administration plans to make the E15 available this summer through an emergency declaration, citing the impact of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on fuel prices.

Reynolds is working with other Midwestern governors on a longer-term solution that would allow those states to sell E15 year-round.

“Very grateful for the temporary waiver that the President (Biden) made this year, but it’s temporary, and it’s time for us to finish the job,” Reynolds said.

The farm that hosted Wednesday’s bill signing is owned by Gordon Wassenaar, who has held state and national leadership positions for organizations representing both corn and soybean growers, and in 2011 received the US Grains Council Lifetime Achievement Award.

The bill signing comes as Iowa and the country experience record high gasoline prices. In Iowa, the average cost of 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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