California Leads Nation in Low Carbon Fuels

State sold 14 million gallons of E85 in 2015, according to Propel Fuels.
September 22, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California now leads the nation in low carbon fuel retail volumes with more than 14 million gallons of E85 Flex Fuel sold in 2015, according to Propel Fuels, a branded network of fuel retailing sites.

Propel’s research, “Low Carbon Fuels in California: Motivators and Barriers to Use,” illustrates the demographics of this user base, including millennials, the company’s fastest growth segment. In addition to a growing, young customer base:

  • Low-carbon fuel users are highly diverse, representing the socioeconomic demographics of California with strong Latino, African-American and Asian demographic groups.
  • Consumers are extremely loyal to low-carbon fuels, choosing Propel branded fuels 90% of the time.
  • Because low-carbon fuels are affordable and can run in a variety of vehicles, middle- and lower-income families, as well as young people, are attracted to these options.

“Our research shows that low carbon fuels provide great value and appeal to a wide range of Californians, which is why Propel locations have the highest low carbon fuel volumes in the country, and well over double the volumes of other retailers in California,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel Fuels. 

In 2015, 14.77 million gallons of E85 were sold in California, with Propel selling 9.3 million of those gallons, or 63% of the market, according to California Air Resources Board data. Previously, ethanol production leaders Minnesota and Iowa led the nation; according to revenue records these states sold 13.1 million gallons each in 2015. 

Propel’s study is a comprehensive survey of the state’s low carbon fuel customers and was conducted at the pump while customers filled up. More than 970 surveys were completed at 11 Propel locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno, Inland Empire and San Diego. The full white paper, including specific details on survey findings is available at