Republican Congressman Jim Nussle, a candidate for governor, says Iowa gas stations should only dispense fuel that’s blended with ethanol. Nussle says 70 percent of consumers are already choosing an ethanol-blend when they fill up in Iowa, and he would sign a law that mandates ethanol at every unleaded gasoline pump. “I think it’s time that we force the issue, that we make a decision that as Iowans we’re going to choose Iowa energy. We’re going to choose Iowa farmers,” Nussle says. “We’re going choose the renewable sources that are home-grown right here as opposed to continuing to choose foreign sources of energy to fuel our vehicles.”
Nussle says by the year 2020, he wants 20 percent of Iowa’s energy consumption to come from “home-grown” sources. “The goal is very simple,” Nussle says. Many Republican legislators have objected to a state law that would require that only ethanol-blended fuels be dispensed at Iowa gas stations. Nussle says it’s time to get beyond the “mandate” debate. “Times have changed both from the world situation as well as the challenges from supply disruption from the Gulf of Mexico,” Nussle says. “Iowa needs to be not only a renewable (energy) leader from a production standpoint but also a leader from a consumption standpoint.”
Nussle says an ethanol-only mandate may help speed the availability of a higher-concentrated blend of ethanol known as E-85. Whereas most ethanol-blended gasoline is 10 percent ethanol, E-85 is 85 percent ethanol. Nussle says almost 50-thousand vehicles licensed in Iowa can burn E-85, but drivers can’t find a pump that dispenses that fuel. Nussle says at least one pump at every station could be converted to E-85 “overnight” if there’s a statewide “ethanol-only” mandate for gas stations.
Nussle was on the site of an under-construction ethanol plant in Fairbank this (Monday) morning to unveil the energy policy he’d pursue if elected governor. He envisions energy endeavors in not only ethanol but wind turbines and biomass facilities that burn garbage, switchgrass and even manure. Nussle says Minnesota has taken a lead in “biomass” energy, where Iowa hasn’t encouraged municipalities and businesses to burn waste to produce energy.