The latest data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows that gasoline consumed in 30 states and the District of Columbia in 2016 contained more than 10 percent ethanol on average, breaking through the so-called E10 Blend Wall. That compares to 2015 when the national average ethanol content was 9.91 percent and 25 states (plus the District of Columbia) were above 10 percent on average. The 2016 data is the latest available for individual states.
The national average ethanol blend rate in 2016 was 10.02 percent, clearing the 9.7 percent that gasoline marketers claim is the highest the market can tolerate. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen said the numbers show the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is working as intended to drive increased use of ethanol and other biofuels. “Increased consumption of E15, mid-level blends like E20-E30, and ethanol flex fuels like E85 has reduced the so-called blend wall to a pile of rubble. Today, more than 4,000 stations nationwide sell flex fuels and approximately 1,300 stations sell E15,” Dinneen said.
The data show that ethanol comprised 12.4 percent of the gasoline pool in Minnesota in 2016. Not coincidentally, ethanol flex fuels like E85 are available at roughly one out of every eight stations in the Gopher State. In Iowa, gasoline contained an average of 11.4 percent ethanol in 2016, consistent with 2015 and up from just 9.5 percent in 2013. The 2016 data is the latest available for individual states, with 2017 state-level data likely not available until late 2018.
For the first time, ethanol also exceeded 10.0 percent of gasoline consumption in 2016 in mountain states like Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Texas also saw its average blend rate rise above 10.0 percent for the first time. The lowest blend rate among the contiguous states in 2016 was 9.43 percent.
RFA has released a fact sheet with more details on state-level ethanol blend rates.