Sales of E15 jumped 24% and set a new record in Iowa last year - despite the pandemic-related drop in overall fuel consumption.
According to data released by the Iowa Department of Revenue E15 and E85 flex fuel figures from two other states showed that 2020 sales volumes generally held steady, despite COVID-19.
“The recent state-level data on E15 and flex fuel consumption offers great news for consumers, ethanol producers, and anyone else who cares about cleaner air and lower prices at the pump,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper.
Iowa retailers sold 60.59 million gallons of E15 in 2020, up from 48.96 million gallons in 2019 and more than double the 2017 volume of E15 sales.
E15 sales grew in Iowa despite a 14.3% drop in the state’s overall petroleum consumption from 2019 levels.
The plunge in Iowa petrol demand mirrored the national trend, which saw a 13.5% reduction in 2020 compared to 2019.
Similarly, recent data from the Minnesota Department of Commerce showed 2020 E15 sales there nearly held steady with 2019 sales levels, despite the pandemic.
Minnesota E15 sales were 93.46 million gallons, down just 4% from 97.40 million gallons in 2019.
On the west coast, sales of E85 flex fuel showed similar resiliency in 2020.
Data from the California Air Resources Board showed 40.37 million gallons of E85 were sold in the Golden State in 2020, down just 0.6% from the 40.6 million gallons sold in 2019.
In contrast, California’s overall petroleum consumption fell 18.5% in 2020.
The RFA noted that E85 was an increasingly popular option for complying with California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, allowing fuel suppliers to generate surplus carbon credits under the programme.
While California, Iowa, and Minnesota are the only states for which reliable government data on sales of E15 and flex fuels is currently available, RFA said similar trends likely occurred across the US.
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