In a legislative session that is full of contentious issues, Iowa Republicans and Democrats found common ground on at least one thing recently: They love ethanol.
By an overwhelming margin, the Legislature passed a bill to force most retailers in the state to offer more E-15, a higher blend of ethanol than the usual E-10. Gov. Kim Reynolds has been pushing for such a requirement.
Since then, a few commentators in the state have questioned Iowa’s joined-at-the-hip ethanol policies, a tack taken by politicians in both parties. And some have suggested federal support for ethanol won’t last forever; that perhaps it’s time to prepare for the growth of electric vehicles.
Sitting here on the border of Iowa and Illinois, we have a unique vantage point on this question. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has gone all-in on electric vehicles, pushing through a package of state incentives last year and cheering on the Biden administration’s efforts in this area.
Pritzker has proudly proclaimed that he wants the state to be the “Silicon Valley” of the EV industry.
In Iowa, you won’t hear that from the top echelons of government.
Iowa continues to maintain policies that are barriers to EV expansion. In a column for the Des Moines Register last year, analysts for the Consumer Choice Center said Iowa was tied for last on an index for electric vehicle accessibility.
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