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DOE Data: Half of United States Broke Through So-Called “Blend Wall” in 2015

December 13, 2016


WASHINGTON — Recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows that gasoline consumed in 25 states and the District of Columbia contained more than 10.0 percent ethanol on average in 2015, demonstrating that the so-called "E10 Blend Wall" continues to crumble. The national average ethanol blend rate was 9.91 percent according to the DOE data. According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the data completely undermine legislation proposed by Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) that suggests the gasoline market cannot withstand more than 9.7 percent ethanol content. The data show that ethanol comprised 12.5 percent of the gasoline pool in Minnesota in 2015. Not coincidentally, ethanol flex fuels like E85 are available at roughly one out of every eight stations in the Gopher State. In Iowa, gasoline contained an average of 11.5 percent ethanol in 2015, up from 10.3 percent in 2014 and just 9.5 percent in 2013. The 2015 data is the latest available and was just published by DOE's Energy Information Administration. Ethanol also exceeded 10.0 percent of gasoline consumption in 2015 in coastal states like California, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and even Louisiana. For the first time ever, not a single state had average ethanol content below 9.0 percent in 2015, the data show. Vermont ranked last in average ethanol concentration at 9.18 percent. In 2014, the national average ethanol content was 9.83 percent and 22 states (plus the District of Columbia) were above 10.0 percent on average. RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said the DOE data underscore that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is working as intended to drive increased use of ethanol and other biofuels. "As E15 and ethanol flex fuels like E85 have gained in popularity in recent years, the so-called blend wall has been reduced to a pile of rubble," Dinneen said. "This data clearly shows that the RFS is delivering on its promise to expand consumer access to lower-cost, cleaner fuel options at the pump. And with EPA putting the RFS back on track in 2017, the share of renewables in our nation's motor fuel will only continue to grow."