California’s E85 market is booming and that’s paying off for U.S. corn farmers

Source: By Kellan Heavican, Brownfield • Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2022

California is the country’s largest domestic market for E85 fuel and the state’s largest ethanol distributor says that’s good news for farmers.

Jeff Wilkerson with Pearson Fuels says retailers in California are buying ethanol at a record pace to meet the state’s low carbon fuel standard. “Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas – these are big states selling ethanol into California and it will continue. That’s where ethanol is produced and that’s where the supply is at. There’s a direct tie back to corn farmers who are taking their corn directly to ethanol plants.”

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is designed to decrease the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuel supply and provide an increasing range of low-carbon and renewable fuel options to achieve air quality requirements.

He tells Brownfield California requires plants to have low carbon intensity scores to sell ethanol in the state adding more value to corn. “We’re hoping to show that if you price carbon emissions or you put a price on the carbon intensity of your fuels, ethanol comes out really well. It incentives farmers and it incentives producers to make efficiency improvements.

Last year, consumers in California used more than 60 million gallons of E85, which is more than Iowa and Minnesota combined.

The Nebraska Corn Board, Kansas Corn Commission and the Missouri Corn Growers Association have invested more than $1 million to help retailers supply E85.

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