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What’s Fueling the Growth of E15?

Submitted by on August 8, 2017 – 2:43 pmNo Comment

by Debby Garbato (Stagnito Business Information/Convenience Store News)  … As E15 has become more widely distributed, most myths have been dispelled. The higher-margin, higher-octane fuel is now sold by retailers large and small at nearly 900 locations across 29 states. While some drivers understand E15’s environmental and performance benefits, many are lured by E15’s lower price. Others like that it generates American jobs and alleviates foreign oil dependence. Regardless of the reason, once people try E15, they tend to become hooked.

E15 can cost up to 10 cents per gallon less than other fuels. It can generate margins about 4 cents per gallon higher than those garnered by standard E10 fuel, according to Steve Walk, chief operating officer of Boca Raton, Fla.-based fuel wholesaler Protec Fuel. Typically, retailers experience a 15-percent increase in their overall fuel business within 12 months, he noted.

E15 carries an 88 octane rating and is said to substantially improve a vehicle’s performance.

While there is no “typical” E15 customer, it is popular among taxi and Uber drivers and other high-volume users, said Lance Klatt, executive director of both Minnoco and the Minnesota Service Station and Convenience Store Association.

For Minnoco’s independent dealers, E15 has been an important means of differentiation. Steven Anderson, owner of Marshall Cretin Minnoco, offers E15 along with E30, E85, E Zero, and the standard E10. He said E15 now represents 60 percent of his fuel sales. “Statistically, it’s beating E10 and we’ve had no performance issues. There’s a learning curve — ‘Is this going to damage my car?’ — but once people are brought up to speed, they’re more apt to use it.”

Protec offers retailers everything from signage and brochures to full-fledged events with food and balloons. However, it’s found pump interactions are most impactful. “We have a whole fuel island marketing program,” said Walk. “Many people automatically hit ‘85 regular.’ But when the screen says you can buy something for less, it gets [their] attention.”

One-on-one interactions also drive sales. In addition to online and in-store brochures, Thorntons makes sure its employees are well-versed regarding the various fuels. READ MORE

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