The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said Tuesday sales of fuel with 85 percent ethanol rose 43 percent in the second quarter of 2013.
Iowans purchased more than 2.62 million gallons of E85 in the second quarter of 2013, up from the 1.83 million gallons of the corn-based fuel purchased in the first quarter of 2013, according to Iowa Department of Revenue data.
“E85 sales were down at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 due to last summer’s drought, but we’re seeing those numbers turn around now with very attractive E85 prices,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “We should see E85 sales grow even further as the price savings are even better now.”
E85 is currently used in automobiles known as flex-fuel vehicles, but can be difficult for motorists to find. A majority of U.S. cars currently run on E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline.
A study from Iowa State University earlier this month said the United States can overcome the so-called “ethanol blend wall” and meet the country’s renewable fuels mandate starting next year by lowering prices of 85 percent ethanol. The study found that if consumers are forced to drive far to find these stations, they expect greater savings. As motorists save more money, overall demand for E85 grows, the researchers found.
Iowa is the country’s largest ethanol producer with 41 ethanol plants that produced 3.7 billion gallons during 2012.