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E15 growth will be slow despite waiver, says ESAI Energy

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In its recently published Global Biofuels Outlook, ESAI Energy forecasts only a small increase in US E15 gasoline supply, despite the recent announcement that President Donald Trump instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to begin a rulemaking on allowing E15 to be sold all year round.

Even if the E15 waiver is approved in time for next summer, E15 growth will be limited to 2020, due to investment requirements and consumer preferences.

Only a small percentage of US stations currently offer E15 gasoline. In order for additional fuel retailers to sell E15 gasoline, most will have to make investments in pumps, storage tanks and labelling. The ability to sell E15 gasoline all year round will make this investment more feasible, but it will take time. As such, ESAI Energy estimates that E15 demand is likely to grow by less than 60 000 bpd by 2020. With it likely replacing E10 volumes, only 5% of that small volume will replace motor gasoline blending components with ethanol, limiting its near-term impact on both petroleum-based gasoline and ethanol.

Chris Barber, Head of Refining and Biofuels at ESAI Energy, said: “E15 will have a limited impact on petroleum-based gasoline demand in the near term. The required investments in storage, pumps, and misfuelling mitigation will slow the number of new fueling stations offering E15 in the near term. Only about 1400 of the more than 106 000 stations nationwide currently sell E15.”

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