DES MOINES, IOWA — E-15 gasoline and ethanol remains a big topic for Iowa’s legislators, and a new bill making the rounds could solidify the state’s commitment to the alternative fuel.
House Study Bill 594, which was proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, would require all Iowa gas stations to have the infrastructure for E-15 ethanol gas by 2026. The legislation would not force gas stations to have pumps with E-15, but rather the tools needed to supply the specific blend at a moment’s notice.
State Rep. Lee Hein (R) of Monticello believes in the bill, and said Iowa needs to lead the way on ethanol gasoline since the state leads the nation in ethanol production.
“If the box of cereal is not on the grocery store shelf, you will never build a demand for it,” Hein said. “However, if you put that box of cereal on the shelf and it is a little bit cheaper, and they find out that it tastes as good as the store brand, guess what? It will probably become the lead seller. That is what I look at and compare it to.”
However, some groups have already come out in opposition of the bill because of the costs that business owners may have to pay in order to upgrade.
“The proposed mandate would have a devastating effect on businesses across the state, particularly in rural communities,” said Ronald Langston, CEO and President of FUELIowa, an organization that represents fuel business owners in the state. “If this legislation is approved, Iowa businesses will suffer and Iowans will be left paying more for their gas.”
Hein said the bill will include a grant program for smaller businesses that want to upgrade to E-15 gasoline pumps, and stated his belief that ethanol is Iowa’s future fuel.
“We need to be selling it because states look to us and say, ‘Why do we want to use that product in our states if Iowa is not promoting it,” said Hein. “I think it is not only good value for consumers in Iowa, it is a good value for the agriculture industry and economy.”
The bill was approved today in the House Ways and Means committee and will see the debate floor soon.