Agriculture officials from Nebraska and two other states have decided to put more investment into the California ethanol-based fuel market.
The Nebraska Corn Board on Tuesday announced that it and corn checkoff organizations in Kansas and Missouri will provide California fuel retailers $1.25 million over the next year to increase availability of gasoline with an 85% ethanol blend, known commercially as E-85. The fuel will be supplied by Pearson Fuels, the largest E-85 distributor in California with nearly 250 retail stations located throughout the state.
It's the second investment in E-85 in the state by the Nebraska Corn Board, which earlier this year provided two grants to Pearson to pay for E-85 pumps at two gas stations in the Los Angeles area.
“These stations are moving a tremendous volume of E-85,” said John Greer, the Corn Board's District 2 Director. “One station alone would use about 50,000 bushels of corn in the form of ethanol in just a year. The investment is already proving worthwhile for our corn growers.”
California is by far the largest E-85 market in the country, accounting for over 40 million gallons in 2020 and is on track to reach 50 million gallons in 2021. Despite that, it has fewer E-85 stations than either Iowa or Minnesota, which combined have less than one-fourth the population.
Also, more than 1 million people drive flex fuel vehicles in California, nearly three times as many as drive battery electric vehicles.
“The ceiling is high for E85,” Greer said, although he noted that both E-85 fueling stations and flex-fuel vehicles need to be made more widely available in the state.