Based on gasoline sales data released last week by the Iowa Department of Revenue, a spokesman for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says Iowa motorists could have saved $69 million in 2012--if the E15 blend of ethanol would have been widely available to Iowans who drive vehicles that are model year 2001 and newer.
"That $69 million would buy a lot of Christmas presents," notes IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. "With the E15 blend of ethanol, Iowans can spend less money while boosting the Iowa economy. That's a pretty good deal. IRFA is working with retailers across the state to make E15 access a reality. But until E15 is widely available, Iowans will continue paying more at the pump than they should for their fuel."
The potential savings with E15, a fuel blend containing 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline, were calculated using 1,630 million gallons of Iowa gasoline use (extrapolated from Iowa Department of Revenue figures). Roughly 85% of the fuel sold in Iowa goes into vehicles that can legally use E15, which includes all 2001 and newer passenger vehicles. Where E15 has been sold, it has averaged 5 cents per gallon lower than E10.
Today, only one gas station in Iowa is selling E15; that will change in 2013
If the IRFA has its way, E15 will soon be as easy for motorists to get as E10. Shaw says the potential for sales is huge. The majority of the cars on the road today are able to use E15, he notes. "The 2001 and newer cars represent the use of about 85% of the gasoline that's sold in Iowa. Not every car in Iowa can use E15, but a huge number of them are able to use it."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Shaw says there's only one gas station in Iowa now selling E15, and that's at Marion, north of Cedar Rapids. "But we intend to change that situation in 2013," he adds. IRFA has plans to launch a new, big push to work with fuel retailers in Iowa, to make E15 more available in the state.
Iowa ethanol production held steady at 3.7 billion gallons in 2012
Iowa's 41 ethanol plants produced 3.7 billion gallons of the corn-based fuel during 2012, matching 2011 production. But 2012 was the first year since 2002 where production of ethanol in Iowa did not increase year-to-year.
"Iowa was fortunate not to have an ethanol plant shut down in 2012," says Shaw. "Most plants pulled back on production due to the drought which drove up corn prices, but we had another ethanol plant come on line and operating for a full year, and that offset those reductions. In the end we held steady in terms of ethanol production in Iowa in 2012, but everyone is praying for rain and hopes Iowa gets a trend-line corn yield in 2013--to really jump-start the industry again."
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production, says Shaw. 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 facilities with the capacity to produce 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 the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For information, visit IRFA's website.