As RINs Lower E85 Price, Sales Soar in Cresco, Iowa
August 29, 2013
Press Contact: T.J. Page
With Blender Pump, Average Ethanol Content Hits 42%
JOHNSTON, IOWA –Since the start of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) E85 Wholesale Price Listing Service, several retailers are turning to E85 suppliers that pass along some of the RIN value. The resulting E85 retail price spread, reported at more than $1.00 per gallon less than regular unleaded at several locations across Iowa, has led to skyrocketing E85 sales.
No retailer in Iowa may have seen a bigger impact than Fast Stop in Cresco, Iowa. Through the first two weeks of August, Fast Stop reported that E85 sales have jumped, making up 45 percent of its gasoline sales. With strong E85 and E30 sales, pure ethanol accounted for an amazing 42 percent of Fast Stop’s total liquid gallons sold over the two week period. The level is more than four times the so-called E10 blend wall.
“Finding a supply of E85 that reflected the RIN savings was the key – that’s when E85 sales just took off,” stated Dave Sovereign, part owner of the station. “We tried to get other retailers in our area to offer higher ethanol blends. When they wouldn’t, a group of us decided to build our own station and put in a blender pump. It’s been a great investment – not just for us, but for motorists as well. Fast Stop has become a magnet for flexible fuel vehicle owners in the area. Consumers are ready and willing to purchase higher ethanol blends; retailers just need to make them available and price them right.”
Fast Stop dispenses fuel using a blender pump, which allows the station to offer E0 (no ethanol), E10, E15, E20, E30, and E85. Fast Stop blends E85 and regular unleaded to offer consumers the choice between a variety of ethanol blended fuels. Therefore, the lower E85 prices have benefited all ethanol blend levels. When sales of all fuels are averaged, ethanol accounts for 42% of the volume. RINs, or renewable identification numbers, are credits attached to each gallon of ethanol in order to track compliance with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ethanol blender can sell the RIN to refiners that choose not to blend enough ethanol on their own.
“When you see what Fast Stop in Cresco has done there’s only one question – what blend wall?” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Fast Stop’s real world sales data confirms the federal RFS is working as intended. Despite Big Oil’s rhetoric, there is no blend wall and retailers like Fast Stop are proving it. Given a chance, consumers will choose lower priced, cleaner burning ethanol. Big Oil is attacking the RFS not because it is broken, but because the RFS is working.”
The IRFA started reporting wholesale E85 prices in the first week of August. The E85 Wholesale Price Listing Service is available at: http://iowarfa.org/E85PastPriceProgram.php. E85 is a cleaner, low-cost fuel blend containing 85 percent ethanol that can be used in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). For a list of FFVs, please visit:http://ethanolrfa.3cdn.net/89258bdc8d0d998df2_8zm6y14xr.pdf.
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill and three cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.