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Iowa Lawmakers Advance Governor's Proposed Ethanol Requirements

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Katie Peikes
/
IPR file
The legislation would bring gasoline with ethanol and biodiesel to almost all fuel pumps in Iowa. One pump at each site would be allowed to sell non-blended diesel fuel and gasoline with no ethanol.

Iowa lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday that would increase the number of pumps at Iowa gas stations and convenience stores selling gasoline with higher blends of renewable fuels.

A House and Senate subcommittee reviewed the bill proposed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. The legislation would bring gasoline with ethanol and biodiesel to almost all fuel pumps in Iowa. One pump at each site would be allowed to sell non-blended diesel fuel and gasoline with no ethanol.

Supporters of the bill say it will expand markets, boost the economy and give consumers more choices at the pump. Iowa Soybean Association president and Sidney farmer Jeff Jorgenson said soybean oil is a feedstock for Iowa’s biodiesel plants and as biodiesel production has grown, so has the demand for soybean oil.

“Over the last decade, biodiesel production has grown demand for soybean oil by 300 percent,” Jorgenson said. “The legislation being considered would create an additional 108 million bushels of soybean demand for Iowa farmers over the next five years.”

Convenience store chains Casey’s and Kum & Go are among those that oppose the bill. Matt McKinney, a lobbyist for Kum & Go, said it would increase gasoline prices, limit consumer choice and be expensive for retailers to implement.

“Consumer behavior is driven by price,” McKinney said. “And our review of this bill demonstrates that prices will increase and choice will decrease.”

The state Senate and House panels moved it forward. They both indicated that there will be revisions to the bill.