Branstad pushes for more ethanol

Source: Mike Wiser Times Bureau, Quad City Times • Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 DES MOINES — Two Iowa service stations will get $125,000 each to cover the cost of offering higher-ethanol blend fuels, Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday.

Farmer’s Cooperative in Mount Ayr and Oak Street Station in Inwood each received part of $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Fueling Our Future” pilot project.

They were two of the total four applicants for the grant — winners were selected by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Board — announced six months ago. Both award recipients needed to supply matching funds for their blender pump projects in order to get the award.

“This effort will help in producing, processing and profiting locally,” Branstad said. “I can tell you from my knowledge of ethanol that E-30 is kind of the sweet spot where you get the best mileage and, of course, we want to move beyond the 10 percent ethanol and 15 percent and, eventually, I think 30 would be the sweet spot we’d like to see, and this is an opportunity for people who have questions, to be able to show them.”

Farmer’s Cooperative will build a fueling site at its Country Store in Mount Ayr to offer E10, registered E15, E30 and E85 and biodiesel blends of B5, B10, B20 and B99. The $577,559 project also received $100,000 through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

The Oak Street Station will build a new site that will offer E10, E15, E30 and E85 for ethanol and B5 and B99.9 for special-use customers.

Darin Schlapia of Farmers Cooperative joined Branstad at the announcement Monday. He said the company’s earlier foray into ethanol blends of more than 10 percent convinced officials there to expand the Mount Ayr site.

“This project allows a unique opportunity to add greater value to the commodities our customers produce, while at the same time, provide the fuel they want to use,” he said.

Branstad used the opportunity to make a pitch for the Renewable Fuel Standard. That’s a requirement that a certain amount of biofuels must be used in the United States each year, a standard the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to cut.

He also prodded the auto industry to make more flexible-fuel vehicles that can use higher biofuel blends.

“They ought to be making all flexible-fuel vehicles, let the consumers choose,” Branstad said. “This is something that just makes a whole lot of sense. The auto industry has kind of grudgingly moved in that direction. I think there should be a lot more of it.”