The Rise of E85

Joanna Schroeder

The latest edition of Today in Energy follows the rise of E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gas). According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), Minnesota leads the nation with 336 E85 retail locations, while states outside the Midwest are adding E85 stations most quickly. Today, 2 percent of all retail stations in the U.S. offer E85 serving 5 percent of the U.S. light-duty vehicle market, including flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can use E85.

In 2007, the majority of E85 stations were located in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin: the same states leading the nation in corn-ethanol production. Today, these states continued to add E85 stations while California, New York, Colorado, Georgia E85 retail stations by stateand Texas added 49 E85 stations through 2013. As a result, the share of nationwide E85 stations in the five traditional ethanol-producing states of the Midwest fell from 54 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in 2013.

California and New York have seen some of the fastest growth in new E85 fueling stations, increasing from fewer than a dozen stations combined in 2007 to more than 80 stations each in 2013. Only two states (New Hampshire and Alaska) currently have no E85 fueling stations, compared to nine that had none of these stations in 2007.

Growth in the number of E85 fueling stations has slowed in the past two years. The number of E85 fueling stations in the country nearly doubled between 2007 to 2011, from 1,229 to 2,442, but only increased by 7 percent from 2011 to 2013, when the total reached 2,625. Notwithstanding the increase in the number of retail outlets selling E85 since 2007, the vast majority of the nation’s approximately 156,000 retail motor fuel outlets do not offer E85.

biofuels, E85