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Grassley: Electric vehicle trend will negatively impact biofuels

Pictured: Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (Photo courtesy of Ninian Reid/Flickr Creative Commons)

With several automakers announcing an electric future, many are questioning what these moves will mean for ethanol and other biofuels.

The topic was brought up by farm reporters during Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s latest weekly conference call. Grassley, a family farmer and strong advocate for renewable energy, made note that an all-electric future by automakers would definitely impact the ethanol industry.

“If they got electric vehicles like California where half of the cars sold have to be electric by 2025 and all the cars have to be electric by 2035, then we wouldn’t have the viable ethanol industry we have now,” Grassley said. “We probably would still have some ethanol industry because you aren’t going to be able to – as far as I know – drive a tractor on electricity, etc. There’s going to have to be some (ethanol), but it surely wouldn’t be the 43,000 jobs we have in Iowa right now. That’s just the fact of life if they pursue that, and presumably they are pursuing that very quickly.”

According to General Motors, the company is on its way to an all-electric future, with a commitment to 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025. Meanwhile, Ford this week vowed to phase out gas cars in Europe by 2030. Grassley was asked whether the Biden Administration sees biofuels as a way to reduce carbon emissions, and whether the administration will promote biofuels moving forward.

“I think the only discussion I’ve had about that is with Mr. Regan, the new director of the EPA,” Grassley said. “He spoke highly of biofuels and we had Biden campaigning in Iowa for the caucuses talking about biofuels. So, I at least start out this administration that they have a favorable feeling towards biofuels.”

Grassley noted the fight with Big Oil is continuing even with a new administration in office.

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