Fuel stations want more funding for E15 requirements

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Simone Garza | February 17, 2022

Fuel stations may need additional financial support for proposed new requirements of all gas stations to sell a gasoline blend with 15 percent ethanol.

E15 fuel is a budget-friendly combination of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol that burns cleaner than gasoline. The impact of advocating for E15 fuel at Iowa gas pumps is to reduce emissions from gas vehicles which would reduce cases of asthma and respiratory illnesses. Ethanol also lowers greenhouse gas emissions between 40 to 50 percent in contrast to petroleum.

Iowa House File 2128 was proposed earlier in the 2022 Legislative session, focusing on putting an E15 option at all fuel stations in the state. Iowa Democrats and Republicans have voiced support for the legislation in recent weeks, including the bill receiving unanimous support from a Senate agriculture subcommittee last week. 

The current proposal will provide approximately $50,000 for stores that need to upgrade both pumps and tanks to allow higher concentrations of ethanol, which can break down specific rubbers and plastics. The bill states if costs to a fuel station business exceeds $72,000, the business will be exempt from the legislation. Some gas station owners, however, are still concerned about going out of business according to the Dispatch. 

Glenn Hasken, chief operating officer of Molo Companies in Dubuque, told Iowa Capital Dispatch that he believes the state should offer up to $200,000 for store upgrades because the current bill is not palatable to small operators.

A January 2022 study of Iowa’s ethanol use said the switch from 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent within the state would generate up to $73 million of new yearly revenue.

Casey’s General Store lobbyist Tom Cope has previously opposed the legislation, but would support the legislation if more funds were offered to businesses. Cope is also working to broaden the waiver for old tanks that cannot conform to E15 fuels. 

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