When Missouri drivers stop at a gas station to refuel, they may not think about how corn is helping fuel their drive.
Often accounting for 10-85 percent of fuel composition, ethanol -- typically derived from corn -- is a major component in daily transportation for millions of people.
Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall, proposed House Bill 1695, which would implement a tax credit for retail dealers whose service stations sell a blend comprised of at least 15 percent ethanol but no more than 85 percent.
The credit would equal $0.05 per gallon of a qualifying blend sold and dispensed through metered pumps at the service station. The total amount of tax credits authorized under the bill would not exceed $5 million in any given fiscal year.
"Just think of it as a 15 percent blend of ethanol," Gregory said Tuesday at a agriculture policy hearing. "We're taking out another 5 percent of the oil, much of that is overseas and imported into the country, and we're going to put in another 5 percent of ethanol which was made right here in the United States and specifically Missouri."
Under the Missouri Renewable Fuel Standard Act, gasoline must contain at least 10 percent ethanol.
E15 blends (containing around 15 percent ethanol) are approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency in model year 2001 and newer light-duty conventional vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy website.
"This does not go to the producers of ethanol," Steve Murphy, general manager of the POET Bioprocessing in Laddonia and president of the Missouri Renewable Fuels Association, said at the hearing. "Both organizations are in full support of this bill.
"It is also not a mandate for retailers to offer it -- it's an option," Murphy added. "It does help them take some of the capital cost to put in pumps and do upgrades and whatnot to make it more attractive."
The inclusion of ethanol in gas pump mixes helps reduce air pollution, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration website.
The fiscal analysis of the bill, provided by the Department of Revenue, stated: "This is a new credit, primarily for business entities (corporations, maybe partnerships and S corporations and their members). The Department does not currently collect information on the amount of gallons of ethanol sold at the retail level. The Department would need to create a form and make changes to the existing tax credit form for taxpayers to claim this tax credit."
Gov. Mike Parson shared his pride for Missouri agriculture and talked about the importance of the industry Wednesday afternoon at an annual meeting and lobby day for the Missouri Corn Growers Association.
"Any time you're getting a tax credit, you're trying to put more money back in people's pockets," Parson said in an interview after his speech. "We're always wanting to look at avenues we can take to get that done. So, I think this is a step forward."
• HB 1695: Tax credit for sale of ethanol fuel
Sponsor: Rep. Kurtis Gregory