Iowa Senate to vote on E15 legislation following bipartisan support

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Eleanor Hildebrandt | February 9, 2022

The Iowa Senate is preparing for a potential final vote on a proposed bill that would require fueling stations in the state to sell 15 percent ethanol gasoline blends.

House File 2128 received support from Democrats and Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate in the past few weeks. It received unanimous support from the Senate agriculture subcommittee on Tuesday, according to Iowa Capital Dispatch. The legislation originally came from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and there have been similar proposals in recent years at the statehouse. The bill would require at least half the pumps at fueling stations in Iowa to offer 15% ethanol blends, commonly known as E15 fuel, with some exceptions and funding to replace tanks that cannot accommodate the blend.

One potential hurdle for the legislation outside of a final vote is that federal law prohibits the generalized sale of the fuel option in summer months. E15 is more likely than other fuels to evaporate in the heat. There were also concerns about smog from higher ethanol blends, according to PBS. If the legislation passes, it would require gas stations to find a solution for hot Iowa summers. Options include using a flex fuel label to create a smaller demand for drivers. Tom Cope, a lobbyist for Casey’s General Stores, has previously said that label would cause sales to drop significantly, hurting sales for companies like the one he represents.

Other bills have been proposed regarding biofuels in the Senate, but it is unclear if those bills will make it to the general floor. It is also unclear when the Senate will vote on the legislation.

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