Editorial: Year-round E15 use win for Iowa farmers

Source: By Editorial Board, Iowa State Daily • Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cereals. Snacks. Chewing gum. Peanut butter. Ethanol. What do all these have in common? They all involve Iowa’s claim to fame: corn.

Corn took the national spotlight last week as President Donald Trump hosted a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Trump highlighted his new effort to boost E15 (a gas with 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) use year round. As of now, most gas sold across the United States contains up to 10 percent ethanol.

Previous to the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had policies in place to ban the use of E15 in the summer due to pollution concerns. This was due to the fact that E15 evaporates quicker than regular gasoline. Though some say there is no difference in pollution from the E10 to the E15.

So what does this mean? A little breathing room for Iowa farmers. Something both Democrats and Republicans alike praised.

A Iowa State report found that Trump’s trade policies have cost Iowa farmers up to $2.2 billion. On top of that, the recent flooding has left farmers worried about losing crops.

In an ideal situation, this new policy would be a win on multiple fronts.

First, E15 is a cleaner burning fuel not 100 percent sourced from fossil fuels, so it’s a win for the environment. A 2015 study found if the major corn producing states switched from E10 year round to E15, an estimated 3.4 million metric tons of C02 would be avoided.

Second, the new ethanol policy would help cut back some of the $2.2 billion loss, especially considering Iowa is the nation’s largest ethanol producer. Nationwide, this change will also open up the market with more fuel options.

Whether or not you think Trump made this announcement because of the recent trade war or because he really wants to promote year-round E15 use, this move is a win for Iowa farmers, and should be treated as such.