E85 Sales Surge in California

Flex-fuel sales have increased almost tenfold over the past decade.

March 17, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Sales of E85 flex fuel in California in 2022 surged 66% over 2021 and more than doubled the pre-pandemic record set in 2019, new data released by the California Air Resources Board indicate. Last year, California drivers purchased over 103.5 million gallons of E85 flex fuel, a blend containing up to 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, for use in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). That’s up from about 62.5 mg in 2021, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

“Gas prices remain at elevated levels in California, and drivers are seeking out options at the pump that are both more affordable and better for the environment,” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “E85 checks both of those boxes. E85 substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline, and the fuel typically sells for 25 to 40% less in California. This new data show that when E85 is made available and effectively promoted, FFV drivers will absolutely respond,” he said.

“These results show what is possible when policies like the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and federal Renewable Fuel Standard are combined with smart promotional and marketing campaigns,” Cooper said.

Data from the California Energy Commission, to be updated next month for 2022, show that at the end of 2021 there were more than 1.2 million flex-fuel vehicles on California’s roadways.