Iowa bill aims to speed adoption of higher biofuel blends

By Erin Voegele | February 08, 2021

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Feb. 8 introduced a bill that aims to speed the statewide adoption of higher biofuel blends, including E15 and B20. Representatives of the ethanol and biodiesel industries are speaking out in support of the bill.

For ethanol, the bill would make E15 the standard fuel option by 2025. It would also update the E15 promotion tax credit to 3 cents per gallon year-round. Growth Energy estimates that over the first five years, the legislation would increase ethanol demand by more than 117 million gallons.

“Iowa is often known as one of the country’s standard-bearers for ethanol policy, and this move to statewide E15 offerings solidifies their status as leaders in growing Iowans’ access to cleaner and better value fueling options at the pump,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Because of the continued support from Iowa biofuel champions like Governor Reynolds, the E15 legislation introduced in the Iowa state legislature is a big step to offering higher biofuel blends to more and more Iowans and Americans."

Poet is also applauding the bill. “Iowa has always been a major champion for biofuels, and we applaud Governor Reynolds for taking that forward-thinking leadership to the next level with E15,” said Jeff Broin, founder and CEO of Poet. “Passing legislation for an E15 standard could lay the foundation for the entire nation.”

“E15 in Iowa would add nearly 30 million bushels of grain demand each year, grow thousands of jobs across the state and inject millions into Iowa’s economy,” Broin continued. “It would boost farm incomes across the Midwest, grow dependable domestic markets, and be a critical step in securing America’s energy independence.” 

“Make no mistake—we need to return to our roots and once again get our energy from the surface of the Earth, and America’s farmers will play a pivotal role in the climate solution,” added Broin. “Federal and state leaders looking to take action on climate and clean air should start with plant-based biofuels like bioethanol, which is 46 percent cleaner than gasoline from farm to freeway and displaces toxic chemicals in gasoline linked to cancer and other serious health problems.”

For biodiesel, the bill would require most diesel sold in the state to be B11 blend during warmer months, beginning in 2022. The requirement would ramp up to B20 during warmer months in 2024 and later.

The Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Biodiesel Board strongly support the bill and applaud Reynolds for her continued leadership.

“We fully embrace the governor’s call to set Iowa on the path towards using more biodiesel, and at higher blend levels,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the IBB. “Setting a standard for widespread use of higher blends of biodiesel in Iowa would be positive for Iowa’s economy, environment and rural communities – and would improve the quality of the fuel supply overall. We see a seismic shift in the nation’s energy supply already in motion, and the approach to encourage additional production and use of biofuels to reduce carbon while improving the economy is tried and true. As the nation’s top biodiesel producer, Iowa should stay in the forefront of these forward-thinking changes.”

“We applaud Gov. Reynolds for her steadfast leadership on pro-biodiesel initiatives,” added Jeff Jorgenson, president of the ISA. “The homegrown fuel is a key domestic market for Iowa soybean oil, adding value to every bushel of soybeans produced in the state. We look forward to learning more about the Governor’s call for legislation. Iowa soybean farmers stand ready to work with her and the Iowa legislature on advancing renewable fuel policies. By working together, we can grow demand for Iowa soybeans and provide significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities.”

A full copy of the bill, HSB 185, is available on the Iowa Legislature website