Gasoline prices have dropped so far in some parts of Iowa, regular unleaded gas is selling cheaper than ethanol. When it comes to filling up their tanks, for years Iowa drivers have associated saving money with pumping ethanol. Drivers we talked with in Cedar Rapids are doing a double-take.
“Usually it’s the ethanol, but it’s not cheapest today,” said one driver. The Iowa DNR tracks gas prices statewide and says there’s a difference because ethanol producers locked in high prices this summer for corn, the main ingredient in ethanol. Ethanol producers weren’t expecting the price of gas to drop so far.
Triple-A says a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded is selling for an statewide average of a $1.62, which is three cents below the national average. In July, the average statewide price was $4.02. This Cedar Rapids driver doesn’t distinguish between the various brands — she says she just looks for the lowest price.
“Normally, I would choose it even if it was about the same, I would chose the ethanol, but it’s what, a dime cheaper now? Yeah, I’m going to go with the other,” she said. Some experts say ethanol-blended gas doesn’t provide the mileage of regular gas, but Monte Shaw, with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says ethanol burns cleaner, and provides jobs in Iowa.