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'It's very good for Iowa' | Farmers excited about expansion of biofuel usage in state

A bill passed by the legislature will require gas stations to sell gasoline with 15% ethanol, known as E15, beginning in 2026.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Farmers in Iowa say a new bill passed in the state Senate on Tuesday is a win for farmers and consumers.

The measure, House File 2128, will require most gas stations in the state to offer gasoline with higher blends of ethanol at the pump.

Gas stations and other fuel retailers will be required to sell gasoline with 15% ethanol, known as E15, beginning in 2026.

In 2021, sales of E15 and higher ethanol blends accounted for about 6.1% of all gasoline sales in the state, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue. That's the equivalent of about 87 million gallons.

Most gas sold now is blended with 10% ethanol.

David Klindt is a farmer in Bettendorf and the Scott County Corn Growers president. He said the bill will help make the corn market strong.

"There's a lot of corn grown in Iowa and we produce the most ethanol of anywhere in the country," Klindt said. "So it's very good for Iowa."

Consumers should also see lower prices at the pump.

"Ethanol is a lot cheaper than normal fuel, regular fuel, so that's good for the economy, and everybody's trying to save a little bit of money right now," Klindt said. "(With) the fuel prices going up, it's good to produce your own fuel here at home."

Not all Iowa gas stations will have to comply with the new E15 mandate. Gas stations without compatible equipment are exempted and can request a waiver. Gas stations that sell less than 300,000 gallons of gas per year can also receive a waiver if the station's owner operates 10 or fewer gas stations and hasn't previously sold E15.

The bill also outlines a range of tax credits and incentives, and will also require any new or upgraded fuel infrastructure to be compatible with E85, gasoline with 85% ethanol and B20, gasoline with at least 20% biodiesel, starting next year.

Robb Ewoldt, the president of the Iowa Soybean Association, is excited the bill was finally passed.

"(It's) a bill that we've been trying to get through last year and finally achieved this year," Ewoldt said. "It's something that really supports the use of renewable fuels in the state of Iowa, and it helps us be a leader in the country, as far as renewable fuels goes."

He's glad to see support to expand the usage of biodiesel.

"Biodiesel uses a lot of soybean oil, and so it helps out the soybean farmers greatly," Ewoldt said. "And it adds about $1.80 per bushel of every soybean grown in the state of Iowa right now, which is huge."

He said this will protect that cost or even increase it as demand for biodiesel increases.

"Anything that can use soybean oil is good for the Iowa farmer and the Illinois farmer," he said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign the bill in the coming days. The bill passed with bipartisan support in the Senate 42-3 and 81-13 in the House.

“This is a historic win for Iowa families, for our agriculture and biofuels industry, and for Iowa’s entire economy," Reynolds said in a statement Tuesday. "By increasing access to more affordable, homegrown biofuels made right here in Iowa, we are lowering the price at the pump and getting America back on track toward energy independence."

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