WASHINGTON – On Monday, Labor Day both signaled the end of summer and of RFA’s Ethanol Days of Summer Contest. During the three-month contest, which offered the chance to win $50 in free fuel per day, more than 4,000 new users of www.E85prices.com registered and helped report prices for higher ethanol blends and conventional fuels. In total, there were 98 winners who collectively received $5,000 in free fuel.
The market opportunities for E15, E85 and other mid-level ethanol blends are tremendous, given that all model year 2001 and later light duty vehicles can use E15—accounting for nearly 90% of today’s automotive fleet—and more than 22 million flex fuel vehicles can use E85. Unfortunately, many consumers don’t know about either as an option in their existing vehicles. If consumers are educated on which ethanol blends they can use and if they are available at a competitive price, consumers are likely to use those ethanol blends and be a repeat customer.
This contest not only helped consumers find higher ethanol blends, but it also highlighted the price discount between ethanol blends and regular unleaded fuel. For example, users recently reported that nationally on average, E15 had been at a 2.3% discount to unleaded and E85 had been at a 22.1% discount. Through E85prices.com, consumers can also immediately see what stations are their best option by location and historical prices.
The RFA purchased the crowdsourced E85prices.com in 2014 as a way to bolster consumer engagement in higher blends and enhance data collection capabilities. RFA immediately invested in the website and its mobile app to make the website more user-friendly, but also to include E15.
In the future, RFA plans similar efforts to boost the number of users and number of pricing experiences collected. We will also continue our efforts with the Department of Energy to ensure that we have the best station database.
For more information on this year’s contest and to see a list of winners, visit www.ChooseEthanol.com/summer.