A bill which would force all Iowa gas stations to offer ethanol to customers has cleared the Iowa Senate. The bill, however, originally sought to force stations to offer ethanol in the lowest octane, making the corn-based fuel the cheapest at the pump. Senator Merlin Bartz, a republican from Grafton,wanted the whole bill, but can live with half. He says he’s not happy, but believes the bill is “more than absolutely nothing.”Bartz talked this weekend with a state Senator from Nebraska who tried but failed to get a similar “pro-ethanol” bill through that state’s legislature. The legislator told him it’s a small step and more than they got done in Nebraska.Senator John Judge, a democrat from Albia, wanted to go even further — mandating only ethanol be available at Iowa gas pumps. He urged his colleagues to vote no, saying while the bill has ethanol in the title, it is no longer an ethanol bill.The bill now goes to the House. Governor Vilsack supports an “ethanol only” mandate, and it’s not clear if he’ll accept half-a-loaf. About 200 Iowa gas stations do not sell ethanol-blended fuel.
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