Spanish biodiesel consumption had a strong start to 2018, up 18.1% on the year and 1.2% on the month to 93,328 mt in January, according to data released Monday by Spain's strategic oil reserves corporation CORES.
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In contrast, ethanol sales fell 4.9% on the year and 0.1% on the month to 19,993 mt.
The rise in biodiesel sales outstripped the rise in diesel consumption on year, as diesel consumption in January rose 6.1% on the year and edged down 2.6% on the month to 1,837,039 mt.
This took the biodiesel incorporation rate to 5.08% on a volume basis, up from 4.56% in January 2017 and 4.89% the previous month.
Gasoline consumption rose 5.4% on the year but fell 7.8% on the month to 368,013 mt.
This took the ethanol incorporation rate to 5.43% on a volume basis, from 6.02% the previous year and 5.01% the previous month.
The volume of biodiesel consumed in Spain is much larger than ethanol, as the Spanish fuels market is dominated by diesel, which has a market share of about 83%.
In addition, the Spanish mandate sets an overall biofuels target, without separate targets for ethanol and biodiesel, so typically blenders find it easier to meet the mandate with biodiesel rather than ethanol.
But the biodiesel blending rate by volume tends to be slightly lower because of its higher energy value.
For 2018 Spain raised its blending mandate for biofuels from 5% to 6% on an energy basis so higher overall biofuel consumption is expected.