Sales of a 15% ethanol blend were boosted by last year’s lifting of summertime sales restrictions.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association, about 500 million gallons of E15 were sold nationwide in 2019. The group came to the conclusion by studying sales data in Minnesota — which RFA says is “the only state that tracks monthly purchases of higher ethanol blends” — and extrapolating that data nationwide. RFA credited last summer’s lifting of a regulatory barrier that prevented E15 during the summer to the boost in sales.

Last year, Growth Energy, another biofuel trade association, said summer E15 sales were up 46% on a per-store basis after the regulatory barrier was lifted. At the time, Emily Skor, the group’s CEO, said “we expect to see interest from retailers and consumers alike continue to grow.”

In its release, RFA also noted “sales of E15 were actually lower in the first several months of 2019 than during the same period in 2018.” The group blamed EPA’s issuing of Small Refinery Exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard on the drop in sales, saying the reduced price of biofuel mandate credits that resulted “diminished the incentive for retailers to offer blends with higher ethanol content and reduced their ability to discount higher blends relative to gasoline.”

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