The nation's Independence Day had not quite yet arrived earlier this week when Iowa's fuel retailers began celebrating their own freedom a few days early. July 1 marked the enactment of a new Iowa law that frees the state's gasoline and diesel fuel retailers from some restrictions imposed on them by Big Oil companies.
"Today, as of July 1, 2013, some new liberties go into effect for Iowa's fuel retailers. They now have the freedom to offer the fuel options they choose, not what Big Oil dictates," says Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. "These new protections amount to a 'Retailer Bill of Rights,' providing relief from Big Oil's heavy handed, branded contracts that often dictate if and how retailers offer certain fuels for sale, like E15 and E85 ethanol blends."
The bill that was passed by the 2013 session of the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is H.F. 640. "This new law took effect today July 1 and includes language that prevents oil refiners' supply agreements from directly or indirectly limiting the ability of local retailers to offer the ethanol and biodiesel blends they choose," says Shaw. The provisions are based on a law enacted in South Dakota in 2011 and this new Iowa law addresses specific, anti-competition provisions in refiner supply agreements. As a result, new supply agreements in Iowa will not be allowed to:
* Restrict installing a blender pump
* Restrict using current equipment from offering higher blends of ethanol, like E15 and E85, and higher blends of biodiesel such as B20
* Restrict ethanol or biodiesel blends from being advertised
* Restrict the locations where a retailer may offer the higher blends (like under a canopy)
* Restrict payment for higher blends of renewable fuel to cash only (no credit cards)
Allowing more ethanol and biodiesel blends to be available gives motorists greater access to lower-cost, homegrown renewable fuel options
"While protecting Big Oil trademarks, this piece of legislation not only gives Iowa retailers more freedom to offer the ethanol and biodiesel blends they choose, it also allows Iowa's consumers greater access to low-cost, homegrown, renewable fuel options," adds Shaw. "More ethanol and biodiesel blends available at the pump equates to greater fueling freedom, American jobs and American energy security -- all great things to celebrate on Independence Day."
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel production facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 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 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.