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E15 sales surge in Iowa

Pictured: Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Photo by Brent Barnett)

Data from the Iowa Department of Revenue shows 2020 sales of E15 jumped 24% and set a new record in Iowa.

Iowa retailers sold 60.59 million gallons of E15 in 2020, up from 48.96 million gallons in 2019 and more than double the 2017 volume of E15 sales. Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He says E15 sales grew in Iowa despite a 14.3% drop in the state’s overall motor gasoline consumption from 2019 levels.

“That’s a significant jump,” Shaw said. “To increase your sales basically 25% in one year for the E15 blend is great. If there is a downside to that, it’s because it started as a very small number. We’re still very small, only about 5% of overall sales are E15, so we have a tremendous amount of growth opportunity there. Here’s the good news. What those numbers really reflect is we’ve had additional retailers take advantage of the grant program Iowa has and install E15 as an option for their consumers. When they do that and they market it properly, which we help them with, what we see is really great sales. It’s higher octane and it’s lower cost. What’s not to like?”

Shaw lauded recent efforts by CHS to expand access to higher ethanol blends by offering E15 through 10 additional fuel terminals starting this month.

“They are adding availabilty for retailers to pull E15 directly from their terminals,” Shaw said. “In several states, I think there’s three new terminals, you just hit the E15 button and pull that out. Why that’s significant is that in the past, to get E15 you either had to find a jobber below those big terminal operations or you had to invest in a blender pump.”

Shaw made his comments in a Zoom video interview with the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network on Wednesday. You can view the full video below.

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