Straight Talk From Steve: Ethanol
April 27, 2023
Last week the Nebraska State Legislature began debate on LB 562, which is the priority bill of Sen. Myron Dorn of Adams, NE. LB 562 is the Adopt the E-15 Access Standard Act. The bill requires gasoline filling stations to offer E-15 gasoline at half of their pumps within five years and offers grants to filling stations to upgrade their pumps to accommodate E-15 gasoline.
E-15 gasoline is a mixture of gasoline and ethanol where the percentage of ethanol in the blend never exceeds 15 percent. The bill would require all E-15 gasoline to contain a mixture of gasoline and ethanol where the percentage of ethanol would fall anywhere between 10 percent to 15 percent in the blend.
E-15 gasoline turns out to be just as economical for the consumer as regular gasoline without ethanol. While automobiles that burn E-15 typically get less miles per gallon than regular gasoline without ethanol, the cheaper price at the pump usually makes up the difference.
E-15 gasoline is good for Nebraska. E-15 gasoline is good for Nebraska because it is made from corn and Nebraska is one of the largest corn producing states in America. Nebraska is the nation's third largest corn producer behind Iowa and Illinois. In 2020 Iowa produced 2,296.2 million bushels of corn and Illinois produced 2,131.2 million bushels of corn while Nebraska produced 1,790.1 million bushels.
When it comes to ethanol production, Nebraska ranks better than it does in corn production. Nebraska is currently the nation's second largest producer of ethanol. In 2018 Iowa's name plate capacity for ethanol production resulted in 4.183 billion gallons while Nebraska's name plate capacity for ethanol production resulted in 2.281 billion gallons. Illinois produced less with 1.907 billion gallons. Because Nebraska is the nation's second largest producer of ethanol, E-15 just makes good sense for Nebraska's agricultural economy.
On a different note, the Nebraska State Legislature has been moving at a snail's pace this year due to the attempts of a very small faction of Democrat Senators who have decided to filibuster every bill. Unfortunately, the current rules of the Legislature allow a single Senator to hijack the system and slow it down. Because of these dilatory tactics fewer but more significant bills will get passed this year.
Because I am the chair of the Rules Committee, I decided that it was time to take some kind of action. So, last Thursday I announced on the floor of the Legislature that some sweeping changes are coming to the rules. The current rules of the Legislature were written for a moral people who would never use the rules for such dilatory purposes. In fact, Rule 7, Section 11 of the Rule Book expressly forbids the filing of motions and amendments for dilatory purposes, yet this is exactly what this small faction of State Senators have been allowed to get away with this year.
Because this very small faction of State Senators no longer respects the current rules of the Legislature, changes in the rule book will be needed in the future in order to curb this kind of dilatory behavior. In the future we will need new rules with the kind of teeth and enforceability which prevent these kinds of dilatory practices.
At the time that I write this, the Nebraska State Legislature has sent 13 bills to the Governor's desk to be signed into law. LB 77 is the most important one. LB 77 is Sen. Brewer's bill to allow Nebraskans to carry and conceal their firearms without a permit. While this was a good bill, which needed to pass this year, there are many other good bills which also need to pass this year. Stay tuned for LB 626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act, LB 574, the Let Them Grow Act, and a voter photo ID bill.