After a long, cold winter many families are ready to hit the road and go somewhere warm and fun for summer vacation, but the Energy Information Administration is already warning drivers that they are likely to see the highest gasoline prices in four years. The good news is that ethanol is helping to offset higher prices at the pump, according to a new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
Pump prices have already begun to increase, with the average retail price for regular gasoline reaching $2.85/gallon last week, the highest since November 2014. However, the RFA analysis says 10% ethanol blends (E10) alone could save consumers at least $39 billion this year. The analysis of wholesale gasoline and ethanol price data shows that blending E10 has reduced wholesale gasoline prices by at least 27 cents per gallon, or 14%, compared to ethanol-free gasoline (E0).
The cost savings to consumers would be even greater if E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) were used in approved vehicles nationwide in place of E10, the analysis found. Specifically, the savings would be at least 34 cents per gallon, or 17%, for E15 consumers. Using E15 in approved vehicles would help consumers across the country save approximately $45 billion on gasoline, or $386 per household.
A group of senators this week asked President Trump to authorize sales of E15 this summer, starting June 1. Currently, consumers who are blocked from accessing E15 for three months of the year are unnecessarily spending at least an extra 7 cents per gallon on gasoline. Nationally, that translates to $6 billion, or approximately $80 per household.