California Sets Another E85 Record

Cindy Zimmerman

The state of California set another new record for use of E85 (up to 85% ethanol fuel) in 2023 at nearly 118.5 million gallons, up nearly 15% from 103.5 million in 2022, according to the latest data from the California Air Resources Board. California is the state with the largest consumption of E85 fuel, but is also the only state where retailers are unable to sell E15 at all.

The recent National Ethanol Conference was held in California and featured a panel on California’s E85 success story. Right in the middle of that story is Pearson Fuels, started in 2002 and located in San Diego with over 350 stations statewide. Jeff Wilkerson is Government Policy and Regulatory Affairs Manager for Pearson Fuels.

“We added 63 new sites last year… in terms of gallons, in 2023, I think we set another record, so that will be 16 records in 17 years… and I think ’24 will be another record as well,” said Wilkerson.

The key issue with E85 is that it can only be used by Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) and currently there are virtually no new FFVs being produced by car makers, but regular cars can be converted with a simple kit at a very affordable cost point at around $700, according to Juha Honkasalo with eFlexFuel. “It’s pretty simple, takes 1-2 hours to install…basically nothing is going to change, but you can use E85 and get more power,” said Honkasalo. “It’s pretty universal, available for all the cars out on the road on the US today and we also do motorcycles.”

Casey Laur, Manager of E85 Sales for The Andersons, says they sell E85 direct to retailers around the country from four plants in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa through eight terminals. “They get to buy direct from the ethanol producer in markets where there is not a plant,” said Laur.

Listen to their conversation moderated by Robert White, Renewable Fuels Association.

NEC24 California's E85 Success panel 51:30

2024 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

Audio, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA