The funding source for state grants to help finance installation of equipment that dispenses higher blends of renewable fuels will end next year. Grant Menke of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says his group will lobby legislators to continue the program.
“Investments like this program not only benefit the Iowa economy and the Iowa environment, but Iowa consumers as well,” Menke says.
Governor Branstad has signed legislation that ends a one-cent-per-gallon state tax on motor fuel on December 31, 2016. The tax was established a couple of decades ago to finance clean-up of old underground petroleum storage tanks that were leaking, but that project is complete. Until June 30th of next year, $3 million generated by that tax will be spent on fuel pumps that dispense biodiesel and ethanol at higher blends.
“Iowa consumers can look forward to more choices at the pump for E15, for E85, for higher biodiesel blends,” Menke says. “It’s going to save them money. It’s going to burn cleaner.”
State grants from the Iowa Renewable Infrastructure Program can cover up to 50 percent of the cost for retailers installing these kind of blender pumps. The retailer must agree to sell the higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel for at least three years. Supporters hope to convince legislators next year to find another source for the $3 million annual cost of the program.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)