A bill establishing a 25-percent Iowa Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) was unanimously passed by the Iowa State Senate’s Natural Resources Committee on February 7. The legislation, introduced by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), would require gasoline retailers to achieve a minimum percentage of renewable fuel use compared to total retail gasoline sales over a one-year period.

The bill seeks a 10-percent RFS by 2008, a 15-percent increase by 2010, a 20-percent increase by 2012, and a 25-percent increase by 2015. It includes a 10-cent per-gallon incentive for E85 and a three-to-five-cent per-gallon incentive for biodiesel blends of two percent or higher. Both ethanol and biodiesel blends would count toward the percentage.

“What makes this bill unique is that it marries aggressive incentives with common-sense accountability. This bill will get the job done,” stated IRFA’s Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Promoting renewable fuels is too important to be timid or to just hope for the best. Iowa needs an RFS that reflects its leadership in ethanol and biodiesel production.”

Iowa corn field

Iowa corn fields are a source for ethanol, a fuel that counts toward the State’s proposed RFS. Credit: Iowa Corn Promotion Board

According to its Web site, the IRFA was founded in 2002 and brings together Iowa ethanol and biodiesel producers to foster the development and growth of the State’s renewable fuels industry through education, promotion, and infrastructure development. The IRFA worked with the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) in developing the bill.

“Our RFS approach is designed to increase Iowa’s energy independence but still give retailers flexibility in the fuels they offer,” said ICGA President Keith Sexton. “Even when fully implemented, it will mean consumers can still choose the fuel they prefer.”

Iowa will have a minimum of twenty-seven ethanol plants capable of producing more than 1.6 billion gallons per year by the end of 2006, and at least six biodiesel plants will be capable of producing more than 120 million gallons of the fuel per year, according to the IRFA.

“We are excited. It’s time to make this happen,” Sexton said. “This is a plan that benefits everyone: Iowa consumers, Iowa businesses, and Iowa agriculture.”

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