E15 Demand Growth Seen Limited

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- ESAI Energy forecasts a marginal increase in E15 gasoline supply to 2020, despite the Trump administration's announcement to lift a federal ban on summer sales of high-ethanol blends.

ESAI Energy estimates that E15 demand is likely to grow by less than 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2020. With it likely replacing E10 volumes, only 5% of that small volume will replace motor gasoline blending components with ethanol, limiting its near-term impact on both petroleum-based gasoline and ethanol.

Under current regulation, retailers in much of the country cannot offer E15 from June 1 to Sept. 15. That has led to limited investments in storage, pumps and misfueling mitigation. The ability to sell E15 product year-round will make investments in necessary infrastructure and labeling more feasible, but it will take time. The rule intends to allow E15 sales by the summer.

With only about 1,400 of the more than 106,000 stations nationwide currently selling E15 the demand is expected to remain limited in the short to medium term.