With the Iowa caucuses right around the corner, it's time for the national media to start paying extra close attention to every aspect of the various presidential hopefuls as they tour through the state. The main direct connection to the automotive industry is, of course, ethanol, which is a big industry in Iowa. This time around, everyone seems to be focused on the anti-Big Corn stance of Republican candidate Ted Cruz.

The trouble is that most of the media is focused only on this fight with King Corn (and, of course, competitor Donald Trump). It's the easy angle to take, because when you have a candidate who's willing to say that he would, if elected president, phase our the ethanol mandate in 2022, that's direct conflict with the state's powerful interests. The governor, for example, said people should not support Cruz.

But what about Cruz's actual position on the biofuel? It's a big deal. See, Cruz wants to shut down the government's Renewable Fuel Standard, which imposes limits on how much ethanol the oil industry can mix into the gasoline supply. Cruz wrote an article for the Des Moines Register that put a positive spin on this move:

As president, I will rescind the EPA's blend wall, allowing ethanol to command a much larger share of the energy market. ... by opening up the market, demand for mid-level ethanol blends like E25 should increase dramatically: Annual demand could reach 24 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol by 2030, which would require over 8.5 billion bushels of corn. That represents a 60 percent increase over the current RFS cap for corn-based ethanol.
All without a government mandate. Ensuring market access, without empowering lobbyists. Simply by getting Washington out of the way, and allowing Iowa farmers to sell their product on a fair and level playing field.

Did you catch that? Cruz thinks that letting Iowa pump the US gasoline supply with E25 – gasoline that is made up of 25 percent ethanol - will be a good thing. This despite widespread controversy of moving from today's E10 level up to E15 and the general consensus that more ethanol in gasoline can be damaging to some engines.

Ethanol is just one reason for Iowa caucus-goers to like or dislike Ted Cruz. Which way the state goes will be made clear Monday night.

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