RFA Urges California to Promote More FFVs

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association is urging California to promote the sale of more flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on up to 85 percent low-carbon ethanol when considering amendments to the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) regulations.

In comments to the California Air Resources Board, RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman pointed out that E85 is increasingly popular with drivers in the Golden State, with sales topping 100 million gallons in 2022, up from roughly 60 million gallons in 2021. He also noted that the number of E85 retail stations in the Golden State has increased rapidly with over 400 stations offering E85 in California and approximately another 200 on the way.

“E85 has consistently sold for a discount to California reformulated gasoline of between $1.50 and $2.00 per gallon, which provides a strong incentive for consumers with flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) to purchase the product,” Richman wrote. “This is evidenced by the rapid growth of E85 sales even as the number of FFVs in California has remained relatively stable or even declined.”

Likewise, the emissions reduction seen with ethanol is important. On average, the carbon intensity of ethanol sold in the state is approximately 40 percent less than the California gasoline baseline, with some ethanol sold in California approximately 70 percent lower.

In the final analysis, Richman wrote, CARB should require all new vehicles with internal combustion engines sold in the state to be flex-fuel capable, beginning as early as model year 2026.

“The recent growth in E85 sales is a prime success story of California’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions while simultaneously reducing criteria pollutants, displacing petroleum, and offering consumers an affordable, practical, and equitable option in complementing the state’s electrification goals. As part of potential amendments to the ACC regulation, a policy to require flex-fuel capability in new ICE vehicle sales in California is necessary to build on this success and can be a significant component in the state’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and beyond.”

E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA