DES MOINES, Iowa -- State and ag industry leaders say that the latest decision by the Trump administration to allow year-round sales of gasoline with 15% ethanol is a win for agriculture states like Iowa.
The president announced the E15 decision Monday ahead of a Tuesday night rally in Iowa, the top ethanol-producing state in the United States
"My administration is protecting ethanol," the president said at a campaign-style rally in Council Bluffs Monday. "We are unleashing the power of E-15 to fuel our country all year long.”
Previously, E15 blends were restricted to only certain times of year -- retailers couldn’t sell gasoline with 15 percent ethanol during the summer months, as critics were concerned it contributed to smog on hot days. But state leaders in Iowa and other agricultural states have long dispelled that claim and have advocated for year-round sale of the fuel.
“It is a big deal—we’ve been working with administration after administration," Gov. Kim Reynolds said. "This will help drive the usage of corn in the state of Iowa."
Reynolds and Iowa's entire Congressional delegation have voiced support for the decision.
“This is the thing that’s going to move the needle on getting more E-15 available across the country," said Lucy Norton, managing director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Norton also said there are 1,600 gas stations in the U.S. already selling E15 blends--she speculates that will increase now that it will be available for sale all year.
“It’s a huge win for the ethanol industry, farmers, consumers and for the environment," Norton said, noting ethanol emits less cancer-causing chemicals. E15 is also a cheaper option for the consumer, Norton said, saving drivers five to ten cents per gallon at the gas pump.
Farmers who've been facing price drops for corn will see an uptick in demand, which Norton said will have far-reaching effects
“This is going to be a stimulus for the ag economy here in Iowa and across the country," Norton said.
When President Trump made the announcement Tuesday, he claimed Democrats are against E15 expansion, specifically saying Gov. Kim Reynolds' Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell wants to "take away" ethanol in Iowa. His campaign said those claims are "completely false."
"Opening the door to the year round sale of E15 is a long overdue step, and one I have supported for years," Hubbell said in a statement.
To see a list of gas stations in Iowa already selling E15 blends, click here.