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US E85 fuelling station availability is increasing

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the number of retail fueling stations offering motor fuel that can be up to 85%, known as E85, has grown rapidly since 2007.

Currently, 2% of all retail stations in the US offer E85, serving the approximately 5% of the US light duty vehicle fleet capable of running on E85.

In the past, retail stations selling E85 have been concentrated in the Midwest. However, recently the fastest growth has been experienced in states outside of the Midwest. Between 2007 and 2013, California, New York, Colorado, Georgia, and Texas have added more than 49 retail locations.

California and New York have demonstrated some of the fastest growth, increasing from fewer than a dozen stations combined in 2007 to more than 80 stations each in 2013.

As a result, the share of nationwide E85 stations in the five traditional ethanol producing states of the Midwest – Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin – fell from 54% in 2007 to 36% in 2013.

Despite this, Minnesota continues to be the state with the highest number of E85 retail locations, currently numbering 336.

Only New Hampshire and Alaska currently have no E85 fueling stations, compared to nine states with no stations in 2007.

Slowing growth

Growth in the number of E85 fueling stations in the US has actually slowed over the course of the past two years. The number of stations doubled between 2007 to 2011, from 1229 to 2442, but only increased by 7% from 2011 to 2013. The total is now 2625.

With the exception of New York, the Northeast continues to see slow adoption of E85 by retailers. Furthermore, several states reported fewer E85 retail locations in 2013 than 2012. Several states, most notably Minnesota and North Carolina, have actually reported closures in E85 retail locations. This decline has exacerbated slow rates of growth.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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