Bloomberg: Trump Plans Ethanol Boost Amid Farm Belt Voters in Iowa, Sources Say

By: Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Mario Parker

President Donald Trump may tell Iowa voters next week he’ll allow year-round sales of high-ethanol gasoline -- a move that could bolster Midwest Republicans in tough election contests.

Trump could commit to the policy change on E15 fuel that would expand the market for corn-based ethanol during a campaign event near Council Bluffs, Iowa, next Tuesday, according to people familiar with the planning who asked not to be named while negotiations are under way. At the same time, the administration may announce reforms of the market for biofuel compliance credits that are traded by Wall Street banks as a financial commodity.

Trump vowed to support ethanol while campaigning for president in Iowa and has hinted at plans to lift summertime fueling restrictions on gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. But a formal commitment to unleash E15 is an important victory for Iowa, said Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from the state.

“If you look at where he’s making the announcement -- in Iowa, the largest ethanol-producing state in the United States -- it sends a very clear message that he is behind the American farmer, he is behind our renewable fuels and he is ready to make it happen,” Ernst said in an interview. “He’s fulfilling his promise, and I appreciate him for doing that.”

The move could calm corn and soybean farmers fretting about low commodity prices and Chinese tariffs on crop shipments. It also could help two Iowa Republicans locked in competitive races to keep their seats: Governor Kim Reynolds and Representative David Young. Both have pressed Trump on E15.

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