Iowa Senate unanimously passes biofuels bill, sends it to House

By Holly Jessen | April 04, 2014

An Iowa bill that extends several tax credits for producers and retailers passed the Iowa Senate with 48 “yes” votes and zero “no” votes on April 1. The bill was referred to the Iowa House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on April 2.

“I applaud the Iowa Senate for voting unanimously to protect Iowa jobs and access to homegrown, clean-burning renewable fuels,” said Grant Menke, policy director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “This vote sends a clear message that Iowans are serious about increasing renewable fuels production and use, expanding consumer fuel choice and growing Iowa's economy."

The bill, as passed in the Senate, extends retailer tax credits for E15, E85 and biodiesel from 2017 to the end of 2019. The bill would also extend the state’s biodiesel production tax credit and legally define biobutanol as a renewable fuel.

The changes to the E15 retailer tax credit would help Iowa retailers with offering E15 during the summer driving season. Sen. Robb Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, Iowa, introduced the bill, which would increase the E15 tax credit in the summer months from 3 cents per gallon to 10 cents per gallon, to offset the cost of obtaining the required blendstock to sell E15 at that time. Currently Iowa E15 retailers stop offering E15 due to the increased cost due to the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) limitations from June to September, Menke said. Retailers that offer E15 or are considering offering it have responded positively to the bill, saying if the increased tax credit were offered it would be a good incentive to offer it in the summer and also help retailers offer the fuel at a competitive price.

The next step in the House is getting a subcommittee assignment for the bill, Menke said, adding that he’s hopeful that will happen sometime next week. “It would be a very good bill for expanded use and availability of E15,” he said.