Drew Klein, the state director of Americans For Prosperity (Iowa), explained the group’s opposition to a bill in the Iowa legislature that would remove choice from consumers and damage the bottom line of fuel retailers across the state.
While supporting biofuels is typically something Iowans believe is great for the state’s economy, this bill is a “massive draconian regulation” that would have a dire impact on consumers around the state, limit fuel choices and ultimately put a lot of fuel retailers out of business, he said.
The bill would begin to label all non-biofuels as restricted fuels that can no longer be used in vehicles. It would instead be a specialty product available for use in small engines — lawnmowers, boats, ATVs, vintage cars, airplanes, etc. But not in vehicles driving down the road.
Klein said, regardless of the reason someone doesn’t want to use biofuels, the legislation flies in the face of consumer choice when the government is telling consumers they are not allowed to use a “perfectly viable product.”
Consumers would have to use E10 or higher blend biofuels immediately and eventually E15.
“Again, it’s just going to further reduce consumer choice in the market,” Klein said. “The big kicker on the economic side of things is it imposes a massive, massive new cost to fuel retailers across the state in the form of infrastructure.”
Klein listed off a list of things needed to run a gas station and noted they’re all for specific types of fuel.
“This would impose massive new costs,” he said.
Fuel retailers across the state have estimated the cost to update the current infrastructure would be $800 million.
Most of the fuel retailers in rural Iowa will not update their infrastructure, they’d likely just close.
“It’s just a bad deal for rural Iowa,” Klein said.
Regulations should only be used to protect safety from a real present danger, Klein added. But in this instance, the government isn’t using the power to regulate in order to protect anyone from a safety risk.
“They’re simply trying to pick winners and losers at the gas pump,” Klein said. “We as consumers are not going to be the winners and fuel retailers certainly aren’t going to be the winners.”
Klein encourages all Iowans to express their views on this proposed legislation using this link.