Preliminary Assessment of Spatial Competition in the Market for E85: NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Bentley Clinton

Research output: NRELPresentation


Anecdotal evidence suggests retail E85 prices may track retail gasoline prices rather than wholesale costs. This indicates E85 prices may be higher than they would be if priced on a cost basis hence limiting adoption by some price-sensitive consumers. Using publicly available and proprietary E83 and regular gasoline price data, we examine pricing behavior in the market for E85. Specifically, we assess the extent to which local retail competition in E85 markets decreases E85 retail prices. Results of econometric analysis suggest that higher levels of retail competition (measured in terms of station density) are associated with lower E85 prices at the pump. While more precise causal estimates may be produced from more comprehensive data, this study is the first to our knowledge that estimates the spatial competition dimension of E85 pricing behavior by firms. This is an initial presentation; a related technical report is also available.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Accompanies an NREL Presentation Supplement (published separately), which is available at

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-67603


  • E85
  • ethanol
  • price competition
  • transportation fuels


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