Poll says Iowans want 5 percent biodiesel standard

ANKENY, Iowa – Nearly seven out of 10 Iowa voters say they want legislation to ensure the state’s diesel fuel supply includes five percent biodiesel (B5). The Iowa Biodiesel Board released the results of new public opinion research today to show legislators that there is strong support for the proposed Iowa Biodiesel Fuel Quality Standard legislation.

The measure, which passed the State Senate last year with bipartisan support and now awaits passage in the House, would ensure that Iowa uses one of its most prominent homegrown products. It would benefit the state’s economy, environment and energy security.

"This would create demand for 45 million gallons of Iowa-made biodiesel a year, reducing our state’s use of foreign oil by a corresponding amount," said Randy Olson, IBB executive director. "Why wouldn’t we use our own energy product here?"

Iowans agree. Conducted by Moore Information in December, the public opinion research found that:

—  66 percent of Iowa voters said they support the B5 legislation.


—  Only 16 percent said they oppose it.

—  More than 4 out of 5 surveyed said they would use biodiesel if given the chance.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural co-products such as soybean oil. Biodiesel blends can be used in any diesel engine, and up to B5 is legally considered diesel fuel.

Although once the national leader in biodiesel production capacity, today almost half of Iowa’s biodiesel plants are closed or idled. Those left standing have drastically reduced production.

"As biodiesel plants close their doors, Iowa has already lost 2,500 green jobs, and its position as the leading biodiesel state," Olson said. "We have an opportunity to reverse this trend, and reinvigorate an industry that still holds promise."

The IBB has organized a Day on the Hill with biodiesel producers and other supporters on Wednesday, Feb. 3. They will share the public opinion information and ask for support from legislators. IBB is one of several state organizations supporting the bill. Others include Iowa Farm Bureau, American Lung Association of Iowa, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, and Iowa Corn Growers Association.

A new study released this week by IRFA shows Iowa’s permanent jobs stemming from the biodiesel industry have dipped from 5,400 in 2008 to 2,900 last year. The industry’s contribution to the state GDP in 2008 was $1 billion dollars. That dropped by more than half in 2009.

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