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California E85 Sales Set New Record in 2023

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.—Growth Energy, the nation’s largest biofuel trade association, welcomed the release of new data from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) showing that sales of E85 set a new record in the state in 2023.

“Californians used more E85 than ever last year, a fact that demonstrates how enthusiastic consumers are about higher biofuel blends, and their need for more ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save at the pump,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Everyone wants to help lower carbon emissions, and higher biofuel blends are one of the most affordable ways for them to do so. California and policymakers across the country should take note of E85’s meteoric rise in the Golden State and continue to lower consumer costs by increasing biofuels’ share of the American fuel tank.”

“California should also fast track its approval of E15—another more affordable fuel blend made with 15% bioethanol that can be used in nearly-every light-duty vehicle or truck on the road today, whether it’s a flex-fuel vehicle or not,” Skor added.

Retailers feel the same way, according to Growth Energy Vice President of Market Development Jake Comer.

“California’s E85 numbers demonstrate that retailers and consumers alike are demanding greater access to more affordable biofuel blends. That’s why we’ve been spending a lot of time working with California retailers to help them offer these products,” said Comer. “However, when retailers ask us about offering E15, we have to deliver the unfortunate news that they aren’t allowed to sell E15 in California. Many of these retailers operate in multiple states and have seen the success of E15 elsewhere, so there is strong pent-up demand to offer this fuel option. We’re hoping that California—the only state that doesn’t allow E15 to be sold—will soon give customers and retailers more affordable, lower carbon biofuels at the pump.”


California is the only state in the U.S. where E15—a blend made with 15% bioethanol that is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in all vehicles made in model year 2001 and newer—is not approved for sale. Still, fuel retailers in the state have taken steps to sell more E85 to California drivers, including through the use of funds awarded through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), a federal infrastructure grant program that helps fuel retailers offer higher biofuel blends, and that continues through most of this year. Growth Energy’s industry-leading Market Development team supports retailers writing grant submissions and guides retailers on the best way to market biofuels. California had 52 fuel stations apply for HBIIP funding in round one, and 25 apply in round two. We would expect even higher interest from retailers if California were to approve E15.

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