On the heels of surging E15 and E85 sales, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has declared the so-called E10 blend wall dead. Recent calls to modify the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), say IRFA, have centered on the myth that it is impossible to sell blends above 10 percent ethanol (E10), but actual retailer sales data proves otherwise.
“All too often the debate in DC is disconnected from the real world – and the debate surrounding the bogus E10 blend wall is no different,” explained IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “There is no E10 blend wall.”
“Everywhere higher blends have been offered, consumers have responded positively. Rather, there are frivolous ethanol access restrictions (FEAR) – FEAR that is being systematically heightened by Big Oil through lies, lawsuits, and legislative attacks in an attempt to preserve its fuel monopoly,” continued Shaw. “In truth, the RFS is the only tool we have to combat Big Oil’s FEAR mongering and provide consumers the opportunity to choose lower cost, cleaner burning ethanol blends like E15 and E85.”
IRFA released the first month of sales data for E15 in Iowa following its September 16 reintroduction. The six registered E15 retailers in Iowa reporting data sold 23,959 gallons of registered E15 in only one month – enough to make more than 19 trips around the world!* Each of the retailers also offers other higher blends for flexible fuel vehicles, including E85. Averaged across all fuel blends, ethanol accounted for roughly 25 percent of the retailers’ gasoline sales. This level of ethanol sales far exceeds the scheduled RFS levels for years to come.
Shaw added, “We have real world data on higher blend ethanol sales and the facts are clear. In Iowa, and to my knowledge around the country, every retailer that offers higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85 exceeds the percentage of conventional renewables called for by the Renewable Fuel Standard – in 2014 and far beyond. This proves consumers will buy enough higher ethanol blends to exceed the RFS if given a chance. If policymakers compare Big Oil’s hypothetical blend wall horror stories to real world data they quickly learn it’s not that you can’t sell these ethanol blends; it’s that Big Oil refuses to do so. ”
With attractive pricing, second quarter E85 sales in Iowa nearly doubled those in the first quarter. While official third quarter sales data has not been released by the state, a sampling of retailers indicates third quarter sales will continue the upward trajectory and could be 50 percent higher than second quarter data.
*Assumes a vehicle achieving 20 miles per gallon. Only six of Iowa’s eight registered E15 retailers shared sales data with IRFA.