(Minnesota Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Andrea Vaubel addressed the crowd at an event celebrating the state surpassing 300 88 Octane and 400 E85 locations)
The Minnesota Department of Commerce released its year-end station report detailing a record-breaking year for 88 Octane fuel sales, also known as E15, and building momentum for E85 in 2018.
More than 59 million gallons of 88 Octane fuel were sold to Minnesota consumers last year, nearly tripling sales from 2017. Sales of E85 reached 16.4 million gallons last year, surpassing 14.8 million gallons sold in 2017.
The remarkable growth of 88 Octane fuel coincides with a rise in ethanol infrastructure. Stations selling 88 Octane went from 14 retailers in 2014 to more than 300 last year. The investment also led to a growth in retailers offering E85, which surpassed 400 in 2018.
The increase in retailers offering the lower-priced, high-octane fuel was spurred by a $14 million investment in biofuel infrastructure in 2015.
Through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Minnesota $8 million for ethanol infrastructure development to make cleaner-burning ethanol fuels more accessible. A coalition including the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, American Lung Association in Minnesota, Minnesota Biofuels Association, Ethanol Producers, Prime the Pump, and Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) brought the total investment to $14 million.
In addition to its investment in infrastructure, MCGA revamped MNFuels.com last year to make it easier than ever for consumers to find 88 Octane fuel and flex fuels. Nearly 2,500 users have visited the website each month to use the station locator, flex fuel vehicle identifier and more. MNFuels.com has been promoted to consumers on billboards, hit radio stations, popular apps and more.
MCGA also recently partnered with the American Lung Association to hold fuel promotion events at stations throughout the state to discuss the benefits of ethanol with thousands of consumers.
Working alongside its biofuel partners and state officials, MCGA will continue to raise awareness of the benefits of ethanol-blended fuels and build on the momentum behind ethanol infrastructure in 2019.