The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) has long provided infrastructure grants to fuel retailers and supported local ethanol expansion within the state. To complement this work, NCB is additionally boosting ethanol demand in population-dense areas, like California. NCB recently partnered with Pearson Fuels to help two fuel retailers in Los Angeles County – the most populous county in the U.S. – offer consumers E85 (an 85% ethanol blend).
Flex fuel vehicle owners in the Chatsworth suburb (within Los Angeles city limits) and in Agoura Hills (located in the Santa Monica Mountains region) will have additional access to E85 through the retail conversions. E85 provides numerous benefits to consumers, including a higher-octane rating, lower cost, and the fuel is cleaner burning. In fact, ethanol has been proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 46% compared to traditional gasoline, which is appealing to environmentally conscious consumers in California, who are looking for lower-carbon energy options.
“California is the largest E85 market in the country and the demand opportunity is enormous,” said John Greer, District 2 Director serving NCB and farmer from Edgar, Nebraska. “As we look at where we can best build demand for Nebraska’s corn growers, we need to look at states like California because there’s just so many more people. Plus, most of Nebraska’s ethanol is sold to California. We will continue to support infrastructure in-state, but we’re going to fill so much more demand by adding states with high populations into the mix.”
Nebraska is the nation’s third largest corn producer and is second in ethanol production. The state’s agricultural system is often known as “the Golden Triangle” due to the close proximity and synergies shared between the corn, livestock and ethanol industries. Nebraska is able to efficiently produce quality fuel, food and fiber locally, nationally and internationally.
“Currently, California is the largest E85 market in the entire country, outpacing sales in Iowa by 200% and Minnesota by 300%,” said Greg Jones, director of business development with Pearson Fuels. “The costs of converting stations to offer E85 in California are also so much higher. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with the Nebraska Corn Board to help expand this market.”
E85 is approved for flex fuel vehicles. California leads the nation in the number of flex fuel vehicles on the road with 1.1 million in 2020. By comparison, less than 370,000 vehicles in California were battery electric vehicles, which positions ethanol as a here-and-now carbon solution.