RFA: 31 states broke through so-called ‘blend wall’ in 2016

By Renewable Fuels Association | February 05, 2018

Data released by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that gasoline consumed in 31 states (including the District of Columbia) contained more than 10.0 percent ethanol on average in 2016, proving once again that the so-called “E10 blend wall” continues to crumble. The national average ethanol blend rate was 10.02 percent according to the DOE data. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, the data completely undermine assertions by some in the oil industry that the U.S. gasoline market cannot withstand more than 9.7 percent ethanol content. In fact, the data show only 15 states had an average ethanol blend rate lower than 9.7 percent in 2016. RFA today released a fact sheet with more details on state-level ethanol blend rates.

The data show that ethanol comprised 12.4 percent of the gasoline pool in Minnesota in 2016. Not coincidentally, ethanol flex fuels like E85 are available at roughly one out of every eight stations in the Gopher State. In Iowa, gasoline contained an average of 11.4 percent ethanol in 2016, consistent with 2015 and up from just 9.5 percent in 2013. The 2016 data is the latest available for individual states, with 2017 state-level data likely not available until late 2018.

For the first time, ethanol also exceeded 10.0 percent of gasoline consumption in 2016 in mountain states like Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Texas also saw its average blend rate rise above 10.0 percent for the first time. The lowest blend rate among the contiguous states in 2016 was 9.43 percent.

By comparison, in 2015 the national average ethanol content was 9.91 percent and 25 states (plus the District of Columbia) were above 10.0 percent on average.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said the DOE data underscore that the Renewable Fuel Standard is working as intended to drive increased use of ethanol and other biofuels. “Increased consumption of E15, mid-level blends like E20-E30, and ethanol flex fuels like E85 has reduced the so-called blend wall to a pile of rubble. Today, more than 4,000 stations nationwide sell flex fuels and approximately 1,300 stations sell E15,” Dinneen said. “This data prove that the RFS is delivering on its promise to expand consumer access to lower-cost, higher-octane, cleaner fuel options at the pump. The share of renewables in our nation’s motor fuel will only continue to grow, as more retail stations and consumers recognize the value of higher ethanol blends.”

To access the one-page fact sheet, click here.