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The Fuel Choice Coalition Strongly Opposes Government-Imposed Fuel Mandate that Eliminates Choice and Raises Gas Prices on Iowans

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2021

CONTACT
Jesse Dougherty
jdougherty@strategicelements.com
608-807-8619

The Fuel Choice Coalition, a unified voice of Iowa fuel distributors, retailers, wholesalers, and transportation groups announced their opposition to the government-imposed mandate introduced in the Iowa legislature (House Study Bill 185 and Senate Study Bill 1179). This legislation would enforce a strict mandate on the fuel industry that eliminates choice, raises fuel prices on consumers, and harms rural Iowa businesses. 

Iowa’s fuel industry has long advocated the need for critical infrastructure upgrades that will enhance the state’s fuel distribution network. Currently, the vast majority of fueling stations in rural Iowa are unable to offer higher blended biofuels due to requirements mandated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The facts make clear that today’s infrastructure is currently incapable of dispensing the Governor’s mandated products: current tanks, piping, and dispensers cannot safely dispense them. The Fuel Choice Coalition and experts agree it will cost at least $1 billion to upgrade Iowa’s infrastructure to meet the mandate’s requirements. 

FUELIowa President and CEO Ronald N. Langston stated, “FUELIowa agrees renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel are critical to our economy. We have long shared a goal to expand our infrastructure to move more biofuels across the state. However, approaching this issue by way of a government-imposed mandate is the wrong road for Iowa to take and harmful consequences will follow. We strongly urge the legislature to oppose this mandate which will force Iowans to pay more at the pump, eliminates choice in our fuels, and threaten hundreds of small businesses and the people they employ.”

The ongoing pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the Iowa retail fuel industry, its owner operators, supply chains and the transportation sector. This unfunded and unmerited fuel mandate only exacerbates those challenges. 

“This swift proposal to force a mandate on the backs of Iowa businesses and consumers will have wide-ranging impacts - not only on the retail fuel industry but across the entire economy,” said Brenda Neville, President & CEO of the Iowa Motor Truck Association. “Such a result would cause higher maintenance costs, higher fuel costs for truckers, and a loss of competition in Iowa. Mandates are the wrong mechanism to drive the use of more fuels and we urge the legislature to reject HSB 185 and similar legislative proposals.”

"By labeling non-ethanol or non-biodiesel options as ‘restricted use,’ we’re moving away from consumer choice and into artificial market manipulation bordering on a fuel mandate,” said Drew Klein, State Director for Americans for Prosperity – Iowa. “This is new regulation, not for the sake of public safety, but as a means of picking winners and losers in the economy.”

“Picking winners and losers at the pump is no way to improve the fuel network in Iowa, nor are policies that require Iowans to buy more fuel and at higher prices,” said Mark Maxwell, lobbyist for A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa and the Iowa Motorcycle Dealers Association. “This is a misguided attempt for a market grab that does not help consumers or our fuel choices.” 

“A government-imposed fuel mandate is absolutely the wrong direction to go. It eliminates the right of the consumer to choose what they are buying at the pump and takes away an informed decision by removing all labeling,” said Jodi Right, State Legislative Officer for A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa. “The burden put on small businesses to have to purchase the equipment to comply with mandate, as well as the very real possibility of long lines this could cause for consumers exercising choice, makes this proposal too cumbersome.”

In neighboring Minnesota, which has enacted a similar mandate - diesel prices are higher and its sales have decreased. Since the mandate has been enacted, Minnesota’s average annual taxable

diesel gallons are down 6%, while the average annual taxable diesel gallons in Iowa have increased by 5%. 

According to the Annual Report on Biodiesel: Report to the Legislature, Minnesota Department of Agriculture(January 15, 2019), Iowa now produces over four times the amount of biodiesel when compared to Minnesota and the average price for a bushel of soybeans was 16 cents higher.

In Iowa, 87 percent of gasoline gallons sold are blended with ethanol and 70 percent of on-road diesel fuel gallons are blended with biodiesel. However, forcing higher prices on the backs of small businesses and consumers is no way to grow the economy.

“Instead of appropriately funding our fuel infrastructure to sell greater amounts of biofuels, the proposed government mandate under this legislation would be dictating what Iowans can and can’t use at the pump – leading to higher fuel costs, fewer consumer choices at the pump, and would disproportionately impact Iowa’s rural fuel distribution network. We urge the legislature to back away immediately from supporting mandates and instead support the infrastructure that will actually increase the usage of biofuels,” added Langston.

 

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About the Fuel Choice Coalition

The Fuel Choice Coalition is a unified voice of Iowa fuel distributors, retailers, wholesalers, and transportation groups that support Iowans’ choices at the pump including with higher blended fuels, and fair markets for fuel distribution. The group opposes any government mandate that attempts to pick winners and losers at the pump and instead supports a focus on improving the infrastructure to truly sell higher-blended fuels. Members of the coalition include: 

  • A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa

  • American Council of Engineering Companies

  • Americans for Prosperity – Iowa 

  • Casey’s

  • FUELIowa 

  • Iowa Motor Truck Association

  • Iowa Motorcycle Dealers Association

  • Kum & Go

  • Kwik Star

  • Truckstops of Iowa







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