Last month, Governor Kim Reynolds expressed her desire to mandate all fuels in Iowa contain at least 10% ethanol or 11% biodiesel. There would still be non-biofuels options available, but that gas stations would be limited to only having one pump available for those non-blended fuels. While the biofuels industry hails this as a step towards increasing the demand for the biofuels that drive a large portion of Iowa’s economy, not everybody is on board with the initiative.
Audio: Full Interview with FUELIpwa Pres & CEO Ronald Langston
There are Study bills in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature. House Study Bill 185 and Senate Study Bill 1179. According to the Fuel Choice Coalition, a group made up of many fuel retailers in the state., the legislation would severely limit choice at the pump, raise fuel prices, and be a burden to many rural businesses which sell fuel around the state.
Audio: Full Interview with Jason McDermott of McDermott Oil Company
FUELIowa President and CEO Ronald N. Langston says that the goals of the proposed biofuels legislation, while admirable, have some very severe drawbacks. He says the price tag on the forced upgrade of fuel infrastructure could clear $1 billion dollars. Langston talks about what would have to happen to accomplish the Governor’s goals.
Langston says the coalition is urging the Governor and the Legislature to “pull the bill down” and start over again. Langston says it isn’t so much about “compromise” as it is the fact that fuel retailers did not have a seat at the table to discuss their concerns for the future of their businesses and the challenges in meeting the legislation’s goals.
Jason McDermott of McDermott Oil Company in Cascade, Iowa talked about the challenges it would raise just for his company alone. One of the biggest challenges he sees is for his customers’ desire to have a choice at the pump. He also discusses the fact that without the proper equipment upgrades, they won’t legally be allowed to sell higher blends of biofuels in the state.
McDermott says that the price tag for any fuel retailer could, at minimum, be over half a million dollars. The larger the site, the higher the price tag.
Langston added that this is not about wanting to block the goals of increasing the amount of biofuels available. He says the coalition is very supportive of biofuels and recognizes their importance to the state’s economy. They just want the Governor to understand the burden she is placing on the fuel retailers by going about it this way.
The Fuel Choice Coalition is made up of retailers, fuel distributors, wholesalers, and transportation groups such as:
- A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa
- American Council of Engineering Companies
- Americans for Prosperity – Iowa
- Iowa Motor Truck Association
- Iowa Motorcycle Dealers Association
- Kum & Go
- Kwik Star
- Truckstops of Iowa