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Record E85 Sales Save California Drivers $99 Million, Slash Carbon Emissions

March 13, 2024

Flex Fuel E85, State News


The record use of lower-cost E85 in California saved the state’s drivers $99 million in 2023, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 370,000 metric tons, a new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association shows. A record 118.5 million gallons of E85 flex fuel, containing 85 percent ethanol, were sold last year, a 14 percent increase over 2022 and nearly double the volume of 2021.


“E85 continues to be an increasingly popular fuel option for the Golden State,” said RFA Senior Vice President for Industry Relations and Market Development Robert White. “Thanks to the efforts of leading fuel marketers like Pearson Fuels and Propel Fuels, more Californians are taking advantage of the lowest-cost fuel available in the marketplace. By choosing E85, these drivers are making a positive impact on their communities by reducing carbon emissions and slashing the harmful tailpipe pollution that causes air quality and health concerns.”


White noted that California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard are providing a strong incentive for retailers and marketers to increase E85 sales. “The LCFS policy is certainly doing its job to stimulate demand for lower-carbon, more affordable fuels,” White said. “Now it’s time for automakers to step up and expand their flex fuel vehicle (FFV) offerings so even more drivers can enjoy E85’s economic and environmental benefits.”


According to, the average retail price of E85 in California in 2023 was $3.17 per gallon, compared to an average price of $5.01 per gallon for E10 gasoline—an average price discount of 37 percent. With 1.34 million FFVs on the road in California, the average FFV owner saved $74 on their annual fuel bill.


"Retail gasoline remains expensive in California,” said Doug Vind, Pearson Fuels managing member. Pearson sells E85 at 350 locations across California. “That fact, coupled with our ability to continually add stations to our network, indicates to us that we're far from reaching a peak in E85 consumption. E85 can be fully renewable, dramatically lower in carbon and meaningfully more affordable at the pump. It's what is helping California carve its path to a zero-emission future without hurting those who can't buy an EV or pay $6 for a gallon of gasoline.”


"California should be doing everything it can to encourage FFV owners to use E85,” Vind added. “Volumes are increasing while only a few hundred thousand drivers may have access to it. We need to get more FFVs on the road immediately to reduce petroleum consumption, provide consumers with relief from high gas prices and realize substantial carbon reductions.”


The RFA analysis further states that using E85 resulted in the avoidance of 369,518 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in California in 2023 alone—equivalent to removing more than 82,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for the entire year.


"The unique combination of California's low-carbon economy and entrepreneurial culture has created a win-win-win for consumers, fuel retailers and farmers,” said Rob Elam, founder and CEO of Sacramento-based Propel Fuels. “Propel is proud to have led the way bringing innovative E85 marketing and supply to the California market."