Extending Ethanol Into the South

Protec Fuel introduces E15 to major metro areas, adds more E85

Protec Fuel

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- A multiphase rollout of ethanol blends is taking place over the next several months in the South, as ethanol distributor Protec Fuel seeks to bolster the availability of E85 and introduce E15 to the region.

Protec Fuel, based in Boca Raton, Fla., supplies E85 and E100, and offers turnkey ethanol fueling programs for retailers, fleets and distributors throughout the South and Southeast. It is partnering with retailers in many of the regions’ major metropolitan markets to oversee the build out of 28 ethanol-blend fueling locations. This includes introducing E15 to Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the states of Florida and Virginia. These same 28 stations will also offer E85.

“Because of the success of our retailers who have offered E85 in the past, our retail customers are asking us for E15,” said Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuel. “With our proven expertise in the field, it’s natural for us to help meet the demand of many convenience-store retailers—large and small—who want to offer products different than their competitors. Further, this can aid in helping to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard blend wall, after market concentration of E10.”

E15 has faced headwinds rolling out into the fueling infrastructure. While the EPA has approved its use in 2001 and newer cars, industry associations such as NACS have cautioned retailers to fully consider whether their storage and dispensing equipment is certified to handle the ethanol blend, and take steps to prevent misfueling.

While only flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) may use E85, there are nearly 100 FFV models available today, with more than 16.5 million on the road, according to Protec. The company currently supplies E85 and E100 directly or through distributors to more than 200 stations in the United States. Earlier this year, it worked with Mapco Express to add E85 at several locations in Georgia, as well as various Florida independent retailers as part of the Interstate 75 “Green Corridor Project,” which aimed to build a biofuels corridor running from Tennessee to southwest Florida.

The first of the 28 E15/E85 fueling sites should be completed by end of first-quarter 2015. Protec Fuels has already identified which retailers will be participating in this initial phase of the rollout, while future phases are still being developed.