Anti-ethanol pundits show how Iowa uses less of its own product

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siege, Washington Examiner • Posted: Friday, April 20, 2018

A study showing that U.S. ethanol leader Iowa doesn’t use a lot of its own corn-based fuel is exciting some in the anti-ethanol crowd in Washington.

“Iowa — the number one ethanol producer and corn grower in the United States — reaps arguably the greatest benefits from the Renewable Fuel Standard program, but on average, there is less ethanol in the motor fuels that Iowans buy [at their local retailers] than what consumers buy in the rest of the country as a whole,” a summary of the new study reads.

The study was put out by Smarter Fuel Future, a group opposed to the RFS’ ethanol mandate. A study from an advocacy group typically undermines a study’s credibility, but it was based on recent fuel demand data taken from Iowa’s retail monitoring agency.

It wouldn’t be that big a deal if the two Iowa senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, leading the charge to save the ethanol mandate hadn’t been successful in gaining the president’s support to lift federal restraints to blend more ethanol in the nation’s gasoline supply.

Iowans prefer gasoline without ethanol: “Iowans bought more than 200 million gallons of ethanol-free E0 fuel in 2016,” the study showed. “That’s more E0 than what EPA projects the entire country will be able to buy in the near future while still satisfying growing annual biofuel obligations under the RFS. In fact, more E0 is sold in Iowa than [15 percent ethanol blends] and all flex fuels combined.”

Trump vowed last week that he will lift restrictions so that 15-percent blends can be sold nationwide all year. Currently, the EPA restricts E15 use to certain times of the year.

Trying to gin up bad PR: “This is a pretty damning document for the ethanol industry,” read an email from conservative PR maven Liz Mair hyping the study to the Washington Examiner.

Oh, the ‘irony’ of it all: “Yet Iowa members of Congress are continuing to refuse to even hear of changes to the RFS … somewhat ironic,” Mair added.

Ethanol defenders and trade groups had little to say about the study.