French ethanol demand stays strong in September

  • Market: Biofuels, Oil products
  • 11/23/22

French ethanol demand remained strong in September, with its calorific share close to record highs in its share of gasoline.

France's ethanol blend rate was 9pc in calorific terms, according to fuel ethanol federation SNPAA and Argus calculations, fractionally lower than August but up on the year from 7.6pc. The share of ethanol in French gasoline has been rising steadily for a decade, disrupted only by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ethanol demand was 98,000t in the month, and including ETBE this was around 125,000t. Consumption was supported by sales of the E85 blend, at close to 65,000t, up by 87pc on the same month in 2021. E85 took a 6.8pc share of French gasoline demand, flat on the month, the second highest behind June and up from 3.9pc on the year.

The share of E85 has risen rapidly in the past year as manufacturers Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover all released ranges of flex fuel and flex fuel-hybrid vehicles that run on E85.

September sales of the SP95-E10 (E10) grade rose by 17pc year on year to 500,000t (140,000 b/d), a 55.5pc share of domestic gasoline sales. While E10 sales remain strong its share of French gasoline sales has stagnated a little after rising for a decade since its introduction. E10's share has been in a band of 55-56.6pc since November 2021. This has coincided with the sharp increase in E85 sales.

The only drag on domestic ethanol consumption is falling sales of the pricier SP98 grade. This contains 1pc ethanol, and up to 15pc of ETBE, which contains around 47pc ethanol. SP98 sales were below 185,000t in September, down by 3.6pc year on year, the fourth consecutive month of year on year falls in demand, probably the result of high pump prices.

Overall French gasoline demand was over 895,000t (255,000 b/d) in September, up by 8.7pc year on year according to petroleum federation Ufip.

French gasoline grades '000t

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