E15: More Than a Midwestern Fuel

The expansion of E15 presents an advantage to c-stores

fuel pumps

Brought to you by Growth Energy.

E15 fuel sales are growing across the country and just not the Midwest as many people would assume. Retailers of all shapes and sizes are now growing with E15. 

“The Midwest is home to corn and ethanol plants. For years, ethanol has been widely accepted there,” says Steve Walk, chief operating officer of Protec Fuel, based in Boca Raton, Florida. But now, thanks in part to Protec, E15 is available to customers elsewhere, the gulf coast states, the southeast and Eastern Seaboard.

Protec helps retailers get on board with E15 by assessing what changes need to be made to each store, updating equipment and technology, handling logistics and licensing and implementing tweaks to operations. “We do this for the well-known corporate chains with presence around the country, the mom-and-pops, and everybody in between,” Walk says. “Retailers are often hesitant, but when they take the leap and see immediate results, they then want to keep E15 a secret as a competitive advantage.”

But now, the secret is out.

“Customers are happy with higher octane and retailers are happy because their margins are significantly better with E15,” Walk says.

Retailers are also experiencing better store traffic as a result of Protec’s approach. Since offering E15 fuel sometimes requires installing new dispensers, Protec seizes the opportunity to upgrade technology as well, using video screens at the pumps to do marketing campaigns that drive customers into the stores. They also use the monitors to educate customers about the advantages of E15 fuel.

“We’ve seen an explosion of E15 recently, because retailers are understanding that they’re making more money by selling it—better margins for a quality product they can feel good about introducing to their customers.”

The recent announcement that Magellan Midstream Partners, the Tulsa, Okla.-based transportation, storage, and distribution company, is now offering blending services for E15 throughout their mid-continent terminal system will certainly help as well.

For consumers who have been looking for E15 fuel in their neighborhoods—it’s time.