Ethanol Breaks Through the 10% Blend Wall

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Gasoline consumed in the United States in 2016 contained more than 10 percent ethanol on average for the first time ever, according to an analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released last week by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The EIA data dispels the myth that 10 percent is the marketplace limit for ethanol content in U.S. gasoline, and demonstrates that the so-called "blend wall" is not a real constraint on ethanol consumption.

According to EIA data, finished motor gasoline consumption totaled 143.367 billion gallons in 2016. That volume of gasoline contained 14.399 billion gallons of ethanol, meaning the average ethanol content of gasoline consumed in 2016 was 10.04 percent.  According to the RFA report, the data "...further underscore that statutory Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending obligations in excess of the 10.0 percent level can be readily satisfied by the marketplace."

The E15 station count and projections are also growing at unprecedented levels:

  • December 2016 - 400
  • March 2017 - 650
  • December 2017 - 1650

Retailers and convenience store chains adding E15 to their portfolio of fuel offerings are increasing as well.  Furthermore, when pumps are activated, based on the conversations we have had, sales data are consistently strong. 

"This achievement is the result of many years of collaboration between the nation's corn growers and ethanol groups," said KyCorn Promotion Council Chairman Philip McCoun. "We have been investing checkoff funds in infrastructure and awareness in Kentucky for several years, as well as invested in national promotion efforts. The programs are working. Breaking 10 percent nationally is a huge accomplishment, and the trend line looks really good for us."

View the Blend Wall Report

EthanolJennifer Elwell