California leads the nation in E85 sales, running more flex fuel vehicles than electric


California leads the nation in E85 sales, running more flex fuel vehicles than electric

Sales of E85 fuel in California reached a record high in 2021, according to new data from the California Air Resources Board.

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper tells Brownfield the numbers are “off the charts”.

“They consumed almost 63 million gallons of E85 last year and that was about a 55% increase from 2020. The volume last year, roughly doubled in just three years.”

Cooper says California far outpaces any other state in E85 consumption, a direct result of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard – policy that incentivizes flex fuel vehicles.

“It requires fuel suppliers in that state to reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels they are providing to the marketplace. Via its carbon credit trading program, the LCFS really rewards the lowest carbon fuels in the marketplace and right now that is E85.”

Cooper says you get a 30% to 50% carbon emissions reduction when you use E85 compared to regular gasoline.

He says while California also leads the nation in electric vehicles, there are half as many electric vehicles on the road today as there are flex fuel vehicles in the state.

Cooper expects rising gas prices will further entice consumers to choose E85.

“A gallon of gasoline in California has been selling on average for almost $6 and these stations that are selling E85, in many cases, are selling it for almost half of the gasoline price. That is causing people to sit up and take notice.”

Cooper says California is a great example of a properly structured low carbon fuel program driving demand for ethanol, and he is hopes it sets an example for other states to follow.

Interview with Geoff Cooper