Sales of E15 gasoline have grown significantly over the last year, and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is touting the blend’s benefits.
IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw recently told the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network that they are often asked the question, “What vehicles are capable of operating on E15?”
“There’s the scientific answer and there is the legal answer,” Shaw said. “Pretty much any vehicle would be able to handle it, but as a matter of fact and what we always encourage people to do is follow the law. That is that the EPA has approved E15 for all 2001 and newer vehicles, as well as any older vehicles that happen to be flex fuel, although they should be using E85 because that’s a great deal right now. If you only have access to E15, those older FFV’s can absolutely use E15 as well. Combined, those cars make up over 95 percent of the vehicles on the road today. Nearly everyone out there is able to utilize E15 safely, effectively and legally.”
Shaw says E15 typically has an octane rating of 88, but costs less than regular unleaded. This gives the retailer a lower-priced fuel to post on the price sign to help attract customers. The discount also gives the retailer a chance to make a larger profit margin while still giving consumers a discount.
“It’s higher octane. It’s lower cost. What’s not to like? If you present it in a good way to consumers, they are going to buy it,” Shaw said. “In fact, some of our market leaders that we think are doing it the right way, they will see over 50 percent of their entire fuel sales on the gasoline side are E15. Think if we could do that all across Iowa and all across the country. You are talking about literally billions of gallons of new demand. That’s why we need to keep rolling E15 out there.”
According to data from the Renewable Fuels Association, overall fuel volumes are up at every station offering E15 today. This is true of the standalone independents and the major chains. If you want more customers inside your store, higher ethanol blends like E15 can help.