Minnesota sees record E15 sales in 2018

By Matt Thompson | February 28, 2019

Statistics released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce show that demand for E15 in the state remains strong, despite the current summertime ban of the fuel.

According to the statistics, the state topped 59 million gallons of E15 sold during 2018. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association said that number is almost three times the amount sold in 2017. The Minnesota Department of Commerce statistics also show an increase in E85 sales, with 16.4 million gallons of E85 sold in the state last year, an increase over 2017’s 14.8 million gallons.

Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Brian Thalmann attributes the growth to the effort the state and trade groups have put into adding ethanol infrastructure in Minnesota. “Through the Minnesota Corn Growers, we’ve been able to do a lot to help increase the amount of infrastructure throughout the state,” Thalmann said. He added that working with the USDA’s Biofuels Incentive Program, trade groups, and organizations like the American Lung Association have helped grow the market for ethanol in the state.

“The American Lung Association has been a great partner and we’ve both worked on the infrastructure side, and also on the promotion side, in order to make consumers aware of the benefits, and it is working,” he said. “And I’m proud that Minnesota is looked at as a leader in advancing the fuel.”

Thalmann said the growth in E15 comes despite uncertainty around year-round E15 sales. “When we get the Reid vapor pressure issue resolved for year-round E15 sales, Minnesota’s going to be in a great spot to keep building upon our successes and increasing sales moving forward,” he said.

And securing year-round E15 sales is important to that forward movement, he said. “We have to get rid of that uncertainty,” Thalmann said. “We’ve got to have as many things as consistent as possible for the retailers to make the additional commitment.”

Thalmann said that the growth in the state’s ethanol market will lead to more retailers offering E15. “I think once we get some of the bigger, multi-location retailers on board, it’s going to create a momentum that will get a lot of places offering it,” he said. “Our hope is that in the not too distant future, E15 can become the new E10 in Minnesota.”