Why Iowa’s New E-15 Law Won’t Help Drivers Right Away
First things first. Yesterday's new Iowa law that will require gas stations to offer fuels with higher blends of ethanol is a good thing for the state and our biofuel industry. It will also lead to more fuel options for Iowa drivers. However, Iowans need to realize that these changes aren't going to happen overnight and will end up having little to no effect on the price of gas.
The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the new law yesterday in Prairie City, Iowa, surrounded by farmers, lawmakers, and renewable fuel advocates. She touted the renewable fuel industry as a way to combat rising gas prices. But how soon will the new legislation actually help Iowa drivers? That will depend on a variety of factors.
The Register reports that any new gas station built or upgraded starting next year must be compatible with E-15 as well as E-85, and B20. But the big date to watch is the year 2026. That is when the Iowa law will require ALL gas stations to sell E-15. If you drive around Cedar Rapids, finding a station that sells E-15 isn't too difficult, but not every station sells the blend. The Register reports that just over 300 stations reported selling E-15 in 2021. That only represents 17% of Iowa gas stations. Clearly, there is much work to be done.
Will E-15 save you money? The simple answer is 'yes'. E-15 typically sells for 10 to 30 cents less than the blend with 10% ethanol. Anyone with a 2001 model vehicle or newer can use E-15. The Register reports that while in lab settings, vehicle mileage runs lower when using E-15, drivers probably won't be able to tell the difference in a real-world setting.