Demand for ethanol-free gasoline (E0) is on the rise, growing from 3.4 percent of gasoline demand in 2012 to just shy of 7 percent in 2014, according to a chart compiled by API using data from the Energy Information Administration.
“Demand for E0 is strong and growing, and EPA must take this into account as it prepares to release biofuel mandates for 2014, 2015, and 2016,” API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco told reporters in a joint conference call Wednesday with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “Consumers want E0 for their boats, for lawn equipment, for recreational vehicles and for classic cars.”
Strong demand for E0 stands in stark contrast to demand for high ethanol blends like E85, which represents only 0.15 percent of overall gasoline demand, according to Greco. He said that demand for E85 in recent years has been relatively flat, despite more stations offering E85 as an option.
“We remain concerned that EPA may raise ethanol requirements based on the specious reasoning that E85 – a mixture of up to 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline – is a workable solution,” Greco said. “EPA should not try to mandate a market for fuels like E85 for which there is no demand while trying to eliminate fuels like E0 for which actual consumers have shown a substantial demand. . . Consumers’ interest should come ahead of the ethanol interests.”
“Many boaters rely on E0 to power their vessels,” said Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of federal and legal affairs for NMMA. “E0 is not guaranteed to remain available as a result of the RFS and the influx of higher ethanol blends. An inability to find E0 or a simple misfueling mistake could cause boaters to see engine stalling, corrosion leading to oil or fuel leaks, increased emissions and damaged valves, rubber fuel lines and gaskets.”
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry.