Iowa governor directs agencies to buy diesels with B20 support

By The Iowa Biodiesel Board | December 03, 2019

The state of Iowa once again leads by example, with Gov. Kim Reynolds issuing an executive order Dec. 3 requiring state agencies to purchase diesel engines and vehicles with manufacturer support for at least a 20 percent blend of biodiesel (B20).

The move is hailed as a potential driver of increased support for B20 and higher blends with diesel equipment and engine companies in the U.S., a key step towards greater use of B20 blends and higher among consumers.

Reynolds signed the order in front of hundreds of farmers, gathered at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation 2019 Annual Meeting in Des Moines. The order directs all executive agencies, when buying diesel vehicles and engines, to purchase only those that have written support from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use B20 biodiesel or higher.

“This executive order is groundbreaking in helping biodiesel further shore up its rightful place in our nation’s fuel supply,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “While B20 biodiesel has achieved support from the vast majority of diesel engine manufacturers, some engine companies have said they haven’t received clear signals from customers that biodiesel support matters to them. The state of Iowa has once again gone to bat for biodiesel by sending a clear signal with its buying power.”

The language states many of biodiesel’s benefits to the economy, agriculture industry and environment, ending with: “Whereas, Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of biodiesel and should also be a leader in ensuring diesel engine manufacturers support biodiesel blends, thereby furthering Iowa’s economy, environmental sustainability and value-added to agriculture…All state of Iowa executive branch agencies shall ensure that any procurement solicitations, including but not limited to requests for proposals or requests for bids, for vehicles containing diesel engines shall require the responses to certify that the engine manufacturer has provided explicit written support for the use of B20 biodiesel.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation began using biodiesel blends as far back as 1994. The fleet uses B20 most of the year in virtually everything with a diesel engine, including snow trucks, motor graders and more.  

At 365 million gallons of estimated production in 2018, Iowa remains the nation’s leading biodiesel producer. Since biodiesel is made from agricultural coproducts and byproducts, like soybean oil, its production helps the farm economy too.

“Farm income is at one of its all-time lows and ensuring the full acceptance of higher blends of biodiesel can only help offset those struggles,” said Grant Kimberley, Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director, and Iowa Soybean Association director of market development. “I’m proud that our state and governor feel so strongly about biodiesel that they’re willing to take this kind of stand.”

The IBB is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.

 
 
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