POPULATION (2015): 39,144,818




Maximum E85 use:1 Billion GPY
FFVs in use:1,532,820
E85 stations:129
Flex Station implied demand:+286
Maximum E15 use:11.7 Billion GPY
EPA approved E15 vehicles:22,223,848
E15 Station implied demand:+6,010

Fuel specifications


RFG is required across the state year round. All gas sold in state must meet certain specifications determined by the state’s predictive model.

Reid Vapor Pressure:

During winter months, the RVP reference limit is 9.0 psi. In summer months, the RVP point is 7.0 psi. The summer season varies for different regions in the state, but if a producer or importer uses the CaRFG Phase 3 Predictive Model to certify a final blend that does not contain ethanol, the RVP reference point is then 6.9 psi. The RVP limit is expressed as a range: minimum RVP is 6.40 psi, and the maximum is 7.2 psi. Lower-RVP gasoline is required to be at the terminal and retail level for these time periods: April 1-October 31 (South Coast Air Basin, Ventura County, San Diego Air Basin, Mojave Desert Air Basin, Salton Sea Air Basin), May 1-September 30 (Great Basin Valley Air Basin), May 1-October 31 (San Francisco Air Basin, San Joaquin Air Basin, Sacramento Valley Air Basin, Mountain Counties Air Basin, Lake Tahoe Air Basin), June 1-October 31
(South Central Coast Air Basin excluding Ventura County, North Central Coast Air Basin). Producers and importers must also comply with the RVP limits one month before the time periods, in order to help facilitate the sales transition to lower-RVP gasoline.

While California has no specific ban on E15, other regulations prevent the sale of E15 at this time.

Contact information for key state regulatory agencies

Division of Measurement Standards, 916-654-0466

State incentives

Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Incentives
The California Energy Commission (CEC) administers the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) to provide financial incentives for businesses, vehicle and technology manufacturers, workforce training partners, fleet owners, consumers, and academic institutions, with the goal of developing and deploying alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies. The CEC must prepare and adopt an annual Investment Plan for the ARFVTP to establish funding priorities and opportunities that reflect program goals and to describe how program funding will complement other public and private investments.

Funded projects include:
•    Commercial alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) demonstrations
and deployment;
•    Alternative and renewable fuel production;
•    Research and development of alternative and renewable fuels and innovative technologies;
•    AFV manufacturing;
•    Workforce training; and
•    Public education, outreach, and promotion.

The program will be available until January 1, 2024. For more information, see the ARFVTP website. (California Health and Safety Code 44270-44274.7 and California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Chapter 8.1)

Low Carbon Fuel Standard
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program requires a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels that are sold, supplied, or offered for sale in the state by a minimum of 10% by 2020. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) regulations require transportation fuel producers and importers to meet specified average carbon intensity requirements for fuel. In the regulations, carbon intensity reductions are based on reformulated gasoline mixed with 10% corn-derived ethanol and low-sulfur diesel fuel. Liquefied petroleum gas (propane) is exempt from LCFS requirements, as are non-biomass-based alternative fuels that are supplied in California for use in transportation at an aggregated volume of less than 3.6 million gasoline gallon equivalents per year. Other exemptions apply to transportation fuel used in specific applications. The LCFS Program allows producers and importers to generate, acquire, transfer, bank, borrow, and trade credits. Fuel producers and importers regulated under the LCFS must meet quarterly and annual reporting requirements. For more information, see the LCFS Program website. (California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95480-95490; Executive Order S-01-07, 2007; and California Health and Safety Code 38500-38599)

Alternative Fuel Tax
The excise tax on ethanol and methanol fuel blends containing up to 15% gasoline or diesel fuel is one-half the tax on gasoline and diesel prescribed by California Revenue and Taxation Code section 8651.

Federal incentives

Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit
(Originally expired 12/31/13 - retroactively extended through 12/31/16, by H.R. 2029) Fueling equipment for E85 installed between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2016, is eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the cost, not to exceed $30,000. Station owners with multiple locations can use the credit towards each site. For more information about claiming the credit, see IRS Form 8911.

Ethanol plant direct E85/ethanol sales

Click here for a complete list of domestic ethanol producers and sales contacts for E85/direct ethanol sales

E15/Flex Fuel Profit Estimate
Average Retailer:
New gallons/$$/Mo E15 & Flex: 30,000 $5,000
New Customers/Mo:+3,331 
Additional Merch. Margin from above:$9,700
RINs not applied to reduce price:$1,500
Top Performing Retailer:
New gallons/$$/Mo E15 & Flex:71,000$11,800
New Customers/Mo:+7,900 
Additional Merch. Margin from above:$23,100
RINs not applied to reduce price:$4,100

Want to see what E15/Flex fuels could do for your operation?

Try out the E15/Flex fuel profit Estimator
A Roadmap for Ethanol cover

a roadmap for ethanol

You’re thinking about adding or switching to a new fuel grade on your product slate, and you’ve considered premium and diesel, because those are the fuels all station owners consider. But today, the market is different, and you’re curious about what E15, E85, and other flex fuels could do for your business. Good move.

Download the Full Guide