Growth by addition is good. Growth by multiplication is even better.

For the fourth year in a row, the number of retail outlets offering E15 has doubled, hitting 1,200 as 2017 ended. “The momentum gained through the Prime the Pump effort is tremendous,” stressed Mike O’Brien, Growth Energy vice president of market development. “Here’s another way to picture the growth in fuel sales. It took four years to sell enough E15 to drive 1 billion miles. It took just four months to sell enough to drive the next billion. And now, about two months after that, we’ve just announced our third billion.”

O’Brien noted that when evaluating E15 market expansion, the “who” is even more important than the “how many.”

“The retailers we’ve focused on sell roughly three times as much fuel as the average outlet,” he said. “The 1,300 stores we work with sell a little more than 4 percent of all the fuel sold in the U.S. The retailer organizations who operate those stores sell more than 15 percent of the total gas volume.  So, as we continue to add retailers, and we add more stores within those retail organizations, the growth is exponential.”

Mountain of evidence Each purchase made and mile driven adds to the E15 success story. “We’ve seen millions and millions of consumer transactions now without any performance problems related to E15,” O’Brien stated.

That success can only help the ongoing Prime the Pump initiative. Trial programs are underway as four additional retail chains consider adding E15. And O’Brien sees E15 opening the door to the wider acceptance of higher ethanol blends.

“Down the road, E15 is the next step toward E30,” he said. “Almost all of the infrastructure being put in place can be easily switched to E25-E30. When I talk to retailers about what’s coming, I talk about E30 as the coming premium grade. Regardless of what the market brings to bear, these retailers are ready to go.”

You can find more content like this in the latest edition of American Ethanol Magazine.