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ACE Thanks Corn Growers for Their Investment to Move Significant Ethanol Gallons in California

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) welcomes the recent announcement that several state corn grower associations are investing $1.25 million dollars to help San Diego-based fuel marketer Pearson Fuels expand availability of E85 in California. ACE will be sharing the news with prospective E85 retailers as it exhibits alongside Pearson Fuels at the Pacific Fuels + Convenience Summit this week in San Diego.

Last fall after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, the Nebraska Corn Board saw a need to invest in reminding California consumers and state government officials that ethanol is a low carbon fuel that is available right now. Jeff Wilkerson, Director of Market Development at the Nebraska Corn Board, contacted ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, who has been working to develop ethanol markets in the state for over 20 years, to discuss possible strategies.

“Pearson Fuels came to mind immediately because of their phenomenal success building E85 volume in California,” Lamberty said. “By helping them create even more E85 demand, the ethanol partners can see how Pearson builds that demand and try to replicate it in other markets.”

Lamberty introduced Wilkerson to Greg Jones, Director of Business Development at Pearson Fuels, and “after a couple Zoom meetings, with Greg sharing the volume Pearson’s E85 retail locations were pumping, and explaining Pearson wasn’t covering anywhere near the percentage of equipment costs ethanol supporters were paying elsewhere,” Lamberty explained, “the phenomenal ethanol volume return per infrastructure dollar spent helped Pearson Fuels open even more locations in California. Jeff shared what he learned with other state corn groups, and now, thanks to their funding support, Pearson can do a lot more, hopefully a lot sooner.”

Pearson pays a lower portion of the equipment cost, in part because they offer retailers turn-key entry into the E85 market, taking care of the regulatory challenges of adding E85 in California. Even more importantly to some retailers, Pearson handles all the RINs [Renewable Identification Numbers] and CARB [California Air Resources Board] credits to supply very competitively priced E85, which has driven huge increases in volume over the past several years.


“The volume is great all by itself,” Lamberty said, “If the low prices and greater visibility get the attention of California regulators and elected officials, it could make it easier to make the case for E85 as a low- to net-zero carbon fuel right now and into the future.”

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