Iowa’s E15 sales up 38 percent in 2019

By Erin Voegele | April 21, 2020

Iowa’s E15 sales grew by 38 percent last year, reaching a record high of 47.4 million gallons, according to data released by the Iowa Department of Revenue in April. Sales of E30 and E85 blends also reached record highs.

The data was published as part of the Iowa Department of Revenue’s 2019 Retailers Fuel Gallons Annual Report. The report must be published under state law and aims to show how much progress has been made towards the state’s goal to replace 25 percent of transportation fuel with biofuels by 2020.

To complete the report, the Iowa Department of Revenue identified 2,451 potential retail locations at which fuel may have been sold at retail last year. According to the report, 2,120 retail locations completed the department’s survey, a response rate of 86.4 percent. Of the 2,210 stations, 1,968 reported selling at least one type of ethanol blend last year. The report indicates 1,958 stations reported selling E10, 333 reported selling registered E15, flex fuel E15 and/or E20, and 350 reported selling E85.

During 2019, Iowa retailers sold an estimated 1,284.3 million gallons of E10. E15 sales reached 49 million gallons, with 96.9 percent of that volume sold through registered pumps. E20 sales reached 1.1 million gallons, while E85 sales reached 19 million gallons.

Combined, the report shows ethanol blended fuel represented 86.5 percent of total reported gasoline fuel sales during the year. Blends of E15 or higher comprised 4.4 percent of total gasoline sales in 2019.

Of the 2,027 locations in Iowa that sold gasoline, 1,968 sold one or more ethanol blends, while 383 sold E15 or higher blends. The aggregate ethanol gallonage, which is the number of pure ethanol gallons sold by retailers in 2019, was 151 million gallons, according to the report.

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board issued a statement discussing the data contained in the report. “Consumers will choose homegrown, cleaner-burning ethanol blends when they are available, so it is vital we continue to work on infrastructure,” said Kelly Nieuwenhuis, a farmer from Primghar that serves on the state’s Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board. “While the 2019 numbers are an impressive glimpse at noticeable growth in E15 demand, and we understand fuel usage is much different right now, Iowa Corn will continue to work on infrastructure today that can set the ethanol industry and corn farmers up for longer-term success in the future.”

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Revenue website.