May 20, 2022

Iowa's Biofuels Bill Requires More Ethanol in State's Gasoline

Iowa is the first state in the nation to require most gas stations to sell fuel with at least 15% ethanol

Iowa is the first state in the nation to require most gas stations to sell fuel with at least 15% ethanol under a bill signed May 17 by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds signed into law HF2128, the Biofuels Bill. The bill was introduced to the legislature earlier this year and received strong bipartisan support.

According to an AP report, most gas sold in Iowa and across the country is blended with 10% ethanol. Iowa’s law requires E15 to be sold in at least one pump by 2026, except for gas stations that qualify for a waiver.

The bill includes exemptions for existing gas stations selling less than 300,000 gallons of fuel a year with no plans to replace its storage tanks, and some stations with old storage tanks also can get waivers.

"The bill makes Iowa the first state in the nation to adopt an E15 standard and expands access to higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel across the state, lowering fuel prices for consumers," said Reynolds in a statement.

Iowa is top producer of ethanol, biodiesel

Reynolds says the ethanol industry consumes about half of Iowa’s corn crop, and the state leads the nation in corn and ethanol production.

“Iowa’s biofuel production powers our economy and fuels the world, and this historic bill sets the stage for the single largest expansion of biofuels in our state’s history," said Reynolds. "We're sending a message that can’t be ignored: America’s energy is growing right here in Iowa’s fields.”

HF2128 passed the Iowa House with a final vote of 81-13 and passed the Iowa Senate 42-3.

Other states consider mandatory E15 measures

In Minnesota, lawmakers considered but haven’t approved a mandatory E15 measure.

The Future Fuels Act, a bill to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuel in Minnesota, was introduced in March 2021.

One of the initiatives in the Future Fuels Acts would help increase the use of E15 and higher ethanol blends in Minnesota. Modeling indicates the quickest and lowest-cost way to achieve a 15% reduction in the CI of transportation fuels in Minnesota is by increasing the use of E15, E30 and E85, said the American Coalition for Ethanol when the bill was introduced.

Midwest governors unite for year-round E15

In April, governors from eight Midwest states notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that they were taking action to allow the year-round sale of lower-carbon, lower-cost E15 in their states.

The bipartisan group of governors from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin is exercising the authority granted to them under the Clean Air Act, and the action will result in equality in the regulation of E15 and E10 volatility during the summer months.

This would allow retailers and marketers in these eight states to sell E15 unencumbered in 2023 and beyond.

In the letter, the governors thanked EPA for its emergency waiver for E15 this summer and stated more work needs to be done to provide a long-term solution.

“While this emergency RVP waiver will deliver economic relief and energy security benefits in the near term, a permanent solution allowing the year-round sale of E15 is also needed for long-term certainty,” they wrote.

The governors provided information demonstrating that the action they are seeking will reduce emissions of certain pollutants that can lead to ground-level ozone formation.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association, these eight states account for more than 10% of the nation’s gasoline consumption and are home to:

  • 57% of the nation’s 2,512 stations currently selling E15
  • 72% of the nation’s 206 ethanol biorefineries
  • 69% of the nation’s 407,000 ethanol-related jobs
  • 59% of the nation’s 305,000 farms that grow corn
  • 69% of the nation’s corn production

Lisa Cleaver

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