IRFA seeks 66% boost in grants for E15 pump installation

Source: By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa • Posted: Monday, January 6, 2020

Just ten percent of gas stations in Iowa have pumps that will dispense the higher blend of ethanol that’s now cleared nationally for sale year-round. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is asking state officials for a 66 percent increase in the total amount of state “cost-share” grant money that’s available to stations that install E-15 pumps.

Nathan Hohnstein, a lobbyist for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says those state grants over the past few years have had a dramatic impact.

“In 2012, we didn’t have a single station or location in Iowa that was selling E15, you’re now having just roughly 230 locations that do sell E15,” Hohnstein says. “We’re very proud of this progress, however there’s a still lot of uncertainty at the federal level with the RFS and with trade.”

The state’s Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program will hand out $3 million in grants this year. The industry is calling on state officials to set aside $5 million next year to award to stations that install E-15 pumps.

“With the new rule of year-round E15, this past summer you saw E15 sales grow 46% nationwide compared to 2018,” Hohnstein says.

During a public hearing in the governor’s office earlier this month, Hohnstein said  the biofuels industry is facing economic headwinds, so expanding the number of stations where consumers can buy E15 is important.

About 50,000 jobs are supported by Iowa biofuels industry. There are 43 ethanol plants and 11 biodiesel plants in the state.