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Spain's Feb ethanol sales up 25.4% on year; biodiesel down 4.5%

Spanish ethanol consumption rose 25.4% year on year to 19,470 mt in February, although it was down 2.6% on the month, according to data released Thursday by Spain's strategic oil reserves corporation CORES.

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With gasoline sales at 351,780 mt, increasing by 3.7% on the year but dropping 4.4% on the month, this took the ethanol incorporation rate to 5.53% on a volume basis, compared with 4.58% a year earlier and 5.43% the previous month.

In contrast, biodiesel consumption in February posted a 4.5% drop on the year, but rose 6.8% on the month to 99,778 mt.

With diesel sales at 1.798 million mt, up 3.4% on the year but 2.2% lower on the month, the biodiesel incorporation rate in February was 5.55% on a volume basis, compared with 6.01% in February 2017 and 5.08% 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.

So far this year, however, ethanol's performance has outstripped that of biodiesel.

For 2018, Spain raised its blending mandate for biofuels from 5% to 6% on an energy basis so higher overall biofuel consumption is expected. Competitive pricing for both ethanol and biodiesel is also supporting biofuel blending.

--Chrysa Glystra, chrysa.glystra@spglobal.com
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, alisdair.bowles@spglobal.com