Legislation to provide a tax credit on higher blends of ethanol at Ohio gasoline stations is advancing in the Ohio General Assembly. Clean Fuels Ohio supports the bill.

HB 165 would apply to blends of 15% ethanol (E-15) or higher. The credit of 5 cents per gallon would be non-refundable, meaning that a retail station would need to apply it against tax liability to the state of Ohio. However, the credit could be carried forward into the subsequent tax year.

According to Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, nine out of ten light-duty passenger vehicles on the road today are certified by U.S. EPA to run on E-15. Yet, most consumers lack access to E-15. According to a study by Environmental Health and Engineering, corn ethanol emits 46% less greenhouse gases than gasoline, counter to conventional wisdom suggesting only 20%. Much of this gain is due to advances in farming technology, soil conservation, and production of animal feed as a co-product of making ethanol.

“Modern science has shown corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% compared to regular gasoline,” said Nicholson. “By incentivizing retailers to invest in cleaner alternatives today, we can allow consumers to participate in that cleaner fuel economy with a cost-effective, clean fuel right now.”

The legislation was originally introduced during the last legislative session, then reintroduced by Rep. Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) in the Ohio House early in 2021 with 13 co-sponsors, more than triple the number from the previous General Assembly. So far, the House Ways and Means Committee has held three hearings. Rep. McClain is working to line up a companion bill in the Ohio Senate.

“I think it’s also important to note how we can link Ohio’s rural economy directly to cleaner air in our metropolitan areas,” added Nicholson. “Right now, Ohio Corn & Wheat is supporting research on GHG emissions in the Columbus region. We believe in stewardship – and measures like HB 165 allow both our rural producers and our urban consumers to play a part in that stewardship.”

“We have always seen ethanol as part of a broad portfolio of clean transportation strategies,” said Sam Spofforth, CEO of Clean Fuels Ohio. “Advancements in farming practices and production technologies just add to the benefits that this and other renewable fuels can provide.”