Even Amidst Pandemic, Iowa E15 Sales Surge to New Record in 2020

April 4, 2021 |

In Washington, D.C., sales of E15 jumped 24% and set a new record in Iowa in 2020, despite the pandemic-related drop in overall fuel consumption, according to data released this week by the Iowa Department of Revenue. Meanwhile, E15 and E85 flex fuel data from two other states show that 2020 sales volumes generally held steady, even as COVID-19 crushed overall fuel demand.

Iowa retailers sold 60.59 million gallons of E15 in 2020, up from 48.96 million gallons in 2019 and more than double the 2017 volume of E15 sales.

E15 sales grew in Iowa despite a 14.3% drop in the state’s overall motor gasoline consumption from 2019 levels. The plunge in Iowa gasoline demand mirrored the national trend, which saw a 13.5% reduction in 2020 compared to 2019.

Similarly, recent data from the Minnesota Department of Commerce show 2020 E15 sales in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” nearly held steady with 2019 sales levels, despite the pandemic. Minnesota E15 sales were 93.46 million gallons, down just 4% from 97.40 million gallons in 2019.

On the west coast, sales of E85 flex fuel showed similar resiliency in 2020. Data from the California Air Resources Board show 40.37 million gallons of E85 were sold in the Golden State in 2020, down just 0.6% from the 40.6 million gallons sold in 2019. In contrast, California’s overall gasoline consumption fell 18.5% in 2020. RFA noted that E85 is an increasingly popular option for complying with California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, allowing fuel suppliers to generate surplus carbon credits under the program.

While California, Iowa, and Minnesota are the only states for which reliable government data on sales of E15 and flex fuels is currently available, RFA said similar trends likely occurred across the United States.

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Category: Fuels

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