Iowa corn growers see benefits of lifted ethanol restrictions after Hurricane Harvey

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VINTON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- After Hurricane Harvey, consumers saw gas prices rise in Iowa and around the country.

This is the trend from GasBuddy.com., where the red line shows the spike in Iowa gas prices, compared to the national trend in blue.

The hurricane shut down oil and gas refineries so the EPA lifted certain restrictions on ethanol fuels to help after the storm.

And now Iowa corn growers are seeing a slight boost in ethanol sales.

Many gas stations have an e-10 or e-15 fuel options and farmers say higher ethanol blended gas tends to be a little cheaper.

In Iowa, there's an abundant amount of corn which means a large supply of ethanol can be used as an alternative fuel source here in the state.

After Hurricane Harvey, prices on premium and regular gas started to rise so the Renewable Fuels Association, which represents the ethanol industry began pushing the EPA to lift their restrictions on a mid-level ethanol blend of e-15.

Farmers say ethanol is actually a cleaner burning fuel, there are less carbon and less carbon footprint, less greenhouse gas let out into the environment.

Some of the myths about higher carbon foot print because of the production of ethanol, the farming practices have changed so much in the last 20 or 30 years that most of that is just a myth and we can actually document that it's a far cleaner fuel," says Jim Grief, a farmer with the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

The majority of gasoline contains ethanol, but Grief tells says the e-15 blend is for vehicles that are a 2001 or newer.

As for the current gas prices, Iowans are paying an average of just under $2.50 for a gallon of regular gas.

The average across the U.S. is about $2.64.