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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

President Joe Biden's push for more Americans to use electric vehicles is creating angst amongst some Iowa ethanol advocates who argue the single-track goal could come at environmental and economic costs.

Why it matters: Electric vehicles create more competition at the gas pump, potentially hurting Iowa farmers' pockets who rely on corn and ethanol sales.

Driving the news: This month, Biden released an infrastructure plan that aggressively pushes electric vehicles as a way to cut carbon emissions and boost domestic car and battery manufacturing.

  • It sets a goal that 50% of all new cars sold in 2030 should be zero-emissions models.
  • Yes, but: The plan scarcely mentions biofuels, which has led to criticism from Iowa Republicans and Democrats, as well as ethanol advocates.

What they're saying: Ethanol can also help reduce carbon emissions, but not if the federal government undermines it by primarily funding the electric vehicle industry, said Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

  • "Whenever D.C. tries to pick a one-size-fits-all solution ... it doesn't do as good a job of achieving their stated goal as if you allow some competition in the marketplace," Shaw said.

Change is happening whether Iowa likes it or not, but liquid fuels still aren't going anywhere, said Matt Russell of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light.

  • But an ethanol vs. electric debate is highly partisan, which leaves no winner at the end, Russell said.
  • Instead, they should coexist like Des Moines' fleet of electric cars and biodiesel dump trunks.
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Go deeper

Salesforce says it has reached net-zero emissions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce, the customer relations management company that many readers may know for its Slack software, announced it has achieved net-zero emissions throughout its value chain.

Driving the news: This includes the energy used by its customers, it says.

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Sep 22, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

More Iowa men are skipping college

Expand chart
Recreated from Iowa Department of Education; Chart: Axios Visuals

Iowa men have historically enrolled in college at lower rates than women, but the education gap is widening, state data shows.

Why it matters: Men who choose to not pursue a college degree could face career and wage stagnation in the future, according to Iowa College Aid.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.