Ohio ethanol bill moves forward

On Nov. 17, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 89 to zero in favor of a bill that aims to offer qualifying fuel retailers a 5-cent-per-gallon tax credit for sales of fuel containing between 15% and 85% ethanol.

House Bill 165, would cap the total tax credit amount at $10 million and make the credit available for four years after the bill is signed into law.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support of members of the Ohio House who voted in favor of HB 165, which would create a temporary tax credit for the retail sale of higher-ethanol blend fuel,” said Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “[This] vote puts Ohio one step closer to increasing consumer’s choices and competition at the pump while protecting energy independence and market stability for our state’s grain producers. We look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of this legislation in the Senate.”

The legislation was introduced by Ohio Rep. Riordan T. McClain in March. The bill reported out of the House Ways and Means Committee in June. To date, 35 Ohio lawmakers have signed on cosponsor the legislation. In a statement introducing the bill, McClain said the tax credit aims to help cover the costs associated with converting or installing pumps approved by the U.S. EPA to administer E15.

The Ohio Ways and Means Committee addressed the bill during several hearings this year. The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, American Freedom Energy, Sheetz, Ohio State Grange, Ohio Soybean Association, Growth Energy, POET LLC, United Dairy Farmers, and Guardian Energy were among the groups offering testimony in favor of the tax credit.

“Government can and should protect free markets, and when necessary work to create free markets. This bill will allow Ohioans increased choice at the pump and hopefully more demand for Ohio-based products,” McClain said.

McClain notes that the legislation is meant to offset these barriers and sunset the credit after four years to allow consumers to navigate a free marketplace of fuel choices that they require.

“Cheaper, cleaner, renewable, and importantly for us, locally grown and produced. We can help level the playing field for our local Ohio growers and refiners with this legislation.” McClain said.

For the Ohio fuel consumer, E15 has its advantages as it is on average five to 10 cents per gallon cheaper than non-blended or lower blended fuels. Additionally, E15 burns cleaner with lower emissions versus lower blended fuels and corn turned into biofuel is a renewable energy source.

The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate.

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