Home 5 Ag Stories Washington energy group exec says E-85 market is in trouble

Washington energy group exec says E-85 market is in trouble

by Ben Nuelle LISTEN: world-of-agriculture-9-22-16

An executive director of a DC energy group says E-85 is under pressure. John Eichberger is Executive Director of the Fuels Institute in Washington, DC. He says the E-85 market is in serious trouble.

“E-85 is under pressure. The CAFE credit the automakers receive for producing a flex fuel expires in 2019 unless there is a change in the regulations. When that happens, the forecast I am seeing shows the flex fuel vehicle population is likely to start going down. Right now about 20 million cars are flex fuel but we’re not selling that much E-85 to begin with. You start losing some of those flex fuel vehicles in the market, the potential for E-85 starts to look more bleak than it ever has.”

Eichberger says there are several reasons why E-85 hasn’t taken off.

“One of them is the drivers of flex fuel vehicles don’t always know they have a flex fuel. The auto dealers have not been communicating the flexibility opportunities of flex fuel vehicles so the consumers don’t know. Second, there’s only 3,000 E-85 stations in the country out of 150,000 retail stations. Even if you have a flex fuel vehicle, finding E-85 can be challenging.”

He adds because of the energy density; E-85 doesn’t get a lot of miles per gallon. The price also has to be 50 to 60 cents below gas and that is not always possible in the market. Eichberger spoke at the National Energy Conference in Des Moines earlier this week.