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EIA Data Indicate Ethanol Volumes Rose, Blend Rate Hit a Record High in 2023

Data released today by the Energy Information Administration show that U.S. ethanol production and consumption rose nearly 2 percent in 2023 to reach their highest levels since 2019, while the blend rate (i.e., the national average ethanol content of gasoline) hit a record 10.39 percent, pushing further above the hypothetical 10-percent “blend wall.” U.S. ethanol output grew to 15.62 billion gallons (bg), and domestic usage increased to 14.25 bg.

Once again, the ethanol blend rate exceeded 10% each month, twice approaching 10.70 percent. This progress is the result of continued expansion in the number of retail stations offering E15, a blend containing 15% ethanol that is typically priced at a significant discount to regular unleaded gasoline, together with waivers by the Biden administration allowing E15 to be sold year-round. Additionally, EIA’s estimate of E85 sales hit a record high, as ethanol flex fuels such as E85 have been especially popular in California under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

“It is clear from the data that drivers are choosing mid- and high-level blends of ethanol where those fuels are offered. While American consumers still face elevated prices for many basic necessities, ethanol saves them money at the pump,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The administration needs to take action to allow sales of E15 this summer, when gasoline prices are often at their highest levels.”

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