Impact on Consumer Savings from Year-Round Nationwide E15 Use

One of the most significant opportunities for both consumers and the ethanol industry lies in expanding demand by increasing use of higher blend levels. Since motor gasoline containing higher levels of ethanol typically sell at a discount to regular gasoline, consumers benefit from lower prices while farmers and others in the economy benefit from increased production of ethanol. Most motor gasoline used in the U.S. contains 10 percent ethanol (E10). However, demand for higher blends such as E15 (15 percent ethanol) also are increasing. While nationwide sales of E15 are not reported, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), E15 is sold in 31 states and the number of retail stations offering E15 has more than doubled over the last five years, from 1,200 in 2017 to an estimated 2,700 currently. In April 2022, the Biden Administration announced that E15 would be available for sale nationwide during the summer months. In response, EPA issued an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 to be sold in the 2022 summer driving months (June through September). Prior to the announcement, EPA allowed the year-round sale of E15 nationwide but restricted E15 sales during summertime months in states without a Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Program. This restricted E15 sales in roughly two-thirds of the country in the peak summer driving months. EPA’s emergency waivers following the President’s April announcement removed this ban and allowed drivers across the U.S. to benefit from E15 for the 2022 summer driving season.

This study estimates the impact for consumers and the U.S. economy of expanding E15 use to the nation’s entire motor gasoline supply based on annualized current (year-to-date 2022) production and consumption levels and input prices. As such, this study updates and revises our 2021 analysis of the impacts of nationwide E15 use that was based on historical data.