WHO 13 NEWS – Iowa farmers and ethanol producers know what they want to hear from President Biden when he tours the POET Bioprocessing in Menlo on Tuesday.
The White House has only said that he will highlight his infrastructure bill, but a lot of Iowans are hoping to hear about an E15 expansion.
Right now, gasoline blended with 15% ethanol is not allowed to be sold during summer months. But renewable fuel supporters hope that’s changed to ease prices at the pump.
Commuters like Stephanie Hudson know the pain at the pump all too well.
“I usually fill up at least twice if not three times a week,” Hudson said. “And now that it’s $50 instead of $30, it makes quite a difference.”
Like many Iowans, she’s looking for some relief when it comes to filling up her gas tank.
“A little bit of help would be nice,” Hudson said.
It’s why ethanol supporters hope President Biden uses his emergency power to allow for E15 sales year round. Right now air quality regulations prohibit states from selling the 15-percent blend during the summer months from June 1 to Sept. 15, putting the savings out of reach for most drivers.
“It’s selling for 10 to 30 cents a gallon less than E10 in most places in Iowa,” Monte Shaw, executive director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said. “That’s money in consumers’ pockets during his time of high gas prices. It also means more demand for ethanol.
Shaw says 275 stations in the state currently offer the blend, and making it the norm would help Iowa’s economy.
“From the ethanol producers perspective or the corn growers perspective, that’s 50% more ethanol,” Shaw explained. “That is literally billions of gallons of new demand opportunities if we can make E15 the new normal instead of E10. That’s a win for the environment, it’s a win for your pocketbook, and it’s definitely a win for farmers.”
While Shaw says a long-term solution is still needed, he thinks this would be a good start to help drivers right now.
“It’s rough making ends meet when you have to pay that much in gas just to get to a job you need to go to,” Hudson said.
According to AAA Gas Prices, Iowans are paying an average of $3.80. That’s 12 cents less than a month ago, but a dollar more than a year ago.