Letter to the Editor | Fuel mandate comes at the expense of Iowans

Iowa legislators need to vote no on the latest fuel mandate proposal.

A+file+image+of+the+Corn+Plus+ethanol+plant+on+May+22%2C+2015%2C+in+Winnebago%2C+Minnesota.

Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

A file image of the Corn Plus ethanol plant on May 22, 2015, in Winnebago, Minnesota.


There is a bill in the Iowa Legislature that would increase the cost of gas for me and many other Iowans struggling financially. The governor’s fuel mandate proposal would, effective immediately, take away the right for gas station owners to sell regular unleaded non-ethanol gas. The only non-ethanol product that could be sold would be premium gas, which is about $.50 more expensive per gallon.

Their idea is that by limiting choices at the pump they can push E15 to help the ethanol industry. A few months ago, I got into a car accident, and the only vehicle I could afford is a 2001 Toyota van given to me by my parents. Vehicle models made in the year 2001 or older cannot take E15, or it will wreck the engine. The only non-ethanol option for me would be to use Premium gas, but as a college student I can’t afford those prices.

Gas station owners would also have to update their storage tanks to comply with this proposal, but those changes would coast nearly $500,000 on average. The result of that added expense would increase the already high cost of premium gas.

This increase would hurt them very badly, especially small towns who only have a locally owned station and may not get the kind of traffic that larger towns would. Many of these small-town stations may not be able to front to cost and opt to not install the new tanks.  These local stations may then be forced to close down permanently.

Many people across the state, as well as college students like myself, live month to month financially. Even the smallest changes to my budget can put my financial security at risk. I know that ethanol is important to farmers, but a mandate to help a few at the expense of so many is not fair. Please ask your state legislators to vote no on House File 549 and Senate File 859.

-Toby Northrup, Iowa City Resident

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