ConocoPhillips to Expand E85 Availability to Kansas

And in Colorado, Pester Marketing opens E85 station

TOPEKA, Kansas -- At the request of Governor Kathleen Sebelius, ConocoPhillips will allow the sale of E85 fuel in Kansas. Sebelius reached out to company executives in mid-August expressing the state's commitment to the fuel blend. The production of the fuel creates a market for more than 96 million bushels of Kansas sorghum and corn each year.

Kansas is working to be a leader in renewable energy, Sebelius said. It's an investment in rural Kansas, it supports farmers and their families and it reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

Earlier this summer, ConocoPhillips launched an 18-month pilot sale of E85 in Illinois, Iowa, Colorado and Nebraska. Kansas, which was not originally part of this pilot, will now be included in the program due to the governor's request.

Crescent Oil Co., Independence, Kansas, will distribute the fuel blend at ConocoPhillips locations throughout the state.

Expanding energy infrastructure is a huge undertaking, and ConocoPhillips' willingness to include Kansas is no small gesture, Sebelius said. It demonstrates a real desire on their part to create a secure energy future and become a strong partner in Kansas' efforts to support renewable energy sources.

Currently, nine ethanol plants operate in Kansas with a capacity of more than 270.5 million gallons. Six more plants are under construction with an estimated 300 gallons of additional capacity.

Click here for more information on Kansas' ethanol efforts.

Meanwhile, in Longmont, Colo., Pester Marketing Co., owner of the 1st Stop and Farm Crest brand of convenience stores in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, announced the opening of the first E85 ethanol station in Boulder County and the first for Longmont.

The announcement was made at the grand opening of the Longmont 1st Stop location on August 30 and featured U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and Colorado Secretary of Agriculture John Stulp, both of whom arrived in a flex fuel vehicle.

The press conference centered around Pester Marketing's partnership with the Governor's Biofuels Coalition to bring E85 to 12 of its 41 Colorado locations within the next year, six of which are already in operation. This is to support the Coalition's goal of opening 50 stations by the end of the year.

Early on we made the strategic decision to invest in the infrastructure needed to provide E85 to Colorado, said Rich Spresser, executive vice president of Denver-based Pester Marketing. In a market where convenient store decisions are based primarily on geography, we wanted an additional point of brand differentiation, something that might get customers to drive a bit out of their way for all-natural dairy products and environmentally friendly fuel. That's why we invested in the Farm Crest Dairy stores last year, and why we are investing in E85 this year. We want to offer more to our customers.

Pester Marketing currently owns and operates 51 convenience stores branded as 1st Stop or Farm Crest Dairy in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. In addition to the retail side of the business, the company is a wholesale supplier of branded and unbranded petroleum products and is currently supplied their Phillips 66 branded and unbranded products by Suncor USA. In March 2006, Pester acquired a 50% interest in Alta Fuels LLC, a major blender and supplier of biofuels, in Alamosa, Colo., a terminal company blending ethanol and bio-diesel products with sales to numerous wholesale and retail customers in Colorado and New Mexico.

Click here for more information on the Governor's Biofuels Coalition.