Iowa Needs More Renewable Fueling Options

Iowa Needs More Renewable Fueling Options

Survey of ethanol and biodiesel plant shareholders finds need for additional renewable fueling options so more Iowa consumers can buy these fuels.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association last week announced it recently conducted an online survey of shareholders who own stock in Iowa's ethanol and biodiesel plants. This was done as part of IRFA's 1th0 anniversary. The theme of the organization's 10th anniversary celebration is "A Decade of Progress and Prosperity." The shareholders willing to provide their contact information had a chance to win $250 in ethanol bucks. The winner of the ethanol bucks is Gerald Dunn from Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Iowa Needs More Renewable Fueling Options

The IRFA questionnaire was administered to gain a better understanding of the renewable fuels industry's impact on individuals and communities in Iowa. Nearly 500 renewable fuels supporters took part in the survey and provided some intriguing responses. Among other results, the survey discovered the following information.

Only 37% of the shareholder respondents identified themselves as farmers

* Despite the common use of the term "farmer-owned ethanol plant" only 37% of the respondents to the survey identified themselves as farmers. "We have tried to use the term 'locally-owned plant' because the investors are not just farmers--they include local business folks, the lady who cuts your hair and the guy at the corner gas station," says IRFA executive director Monte Shaw.

* 39% of those who responded to the survey have a friend or family member employed directly by an ethanol or biodiesel plant. "Clearly most respondents live near a renewable fuels biorefinery, but 39% shows how integral these plants have become to the local economy," notes Shaw.

* 57% own a flex-fuel vehicle, or FFV, with an equal 57% of those people stating they routinely purchase E85 fuel. Of the FFV owners, 68% said flexible fueling influenced the purchase of their vehicle. Of FFV owners, 67% said they do not find E85 refueling stations adequate. "There is a growing appreciation for fueling freedom--not just E85, but E15 and E30 as well," says Shaw. "While progress has been made, the lack of flexible fueling stations is holding us back."

* 29% of those surveyed said they own a diesel pickup or passenger car, with 51% of them stating they routinely purchase biodiesel blends. Of the 29% who own a diesel vehicle, 18% said B20 compatibility influenced their decision to purchase the diesel vehicle. Of diesel vehicle owners, 71% said they do not find biodiesel refueling sites adequate.

"Biodiesel blends are attractive to consumers today," adds Shaw. "But the lack of distribution infrastructure prevents many Iowans from having the choice of biodiesel at the pump. One of our top goals at IRFA is to reverse this and some major improvements are on the way."

Survey of shareholders finds need for more renewable fueling options

IRFA will release additional survey results throughout the summer in conjunction with future 10th anniversary events.

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing nearly 3.7 billion gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 13 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 320 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at

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