E15 Strategies—Replacing Diesel

The transition away from diesel can be helpful for retailers

gas pump

Brought to you by Growth Energy.

With more than 90% of vehicles on the road today compatible with E15, more convenience stores are choosing to offer it due to growing consumer demand, environmental benefits and the ability to offer a lower cost product to customers. At the same time, some retailers are considering if diesel is worth the space on their forecourt.  At times, when diesel is offered on smaller forecourts, retailers are concerned about traffic jams and the large space required to fit large trucks. Larger trucks parked at a smaller forecourt block entire lanes of dispensers, causing other consumers to be frustrated or even drive past the retail store. 

For these reasons and more, some retailers are making the choice to replace their diesel offerings in favor of E15 and other blends of ethanol. Roger Green, who owns and operates Kaposia Convenience Center, in South St. Paul, Minn., says the switch was a “no brainer,” with diesel sales being slow and only at one pump.

“It’s been a great experience,” Green says. “We chose E15 and E85 as we felt those were the two fuels most of our customers would gravitate toward. We have been able to offer a higher octane at a lower price.”

More retailers make the switch

Mike O’Brien, vice president of market development at Growth Energy, noted the growth of E15, saying, “Last year we doubled the number of sites selling E15 from the year before, and this year we’ll probably be at about 60% growth, so we’re progressing quite nicely.”

He added, “The retailers we work with tell us the margins are a little less on diesel, and they feel like E15 is a better option.”

Green agrees, saying, “It has been a great opportunity for Minnoco sites like mine to promote and advertise a great product which supports our local economy and farming communities.”

There are more than 21 million flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) on the road today, and that number is expected to increase—a key factor for retailers considering making the switch. For consumers, E15 is a cleaner burning fuel and is sold at a lower price than standard fuels—perfect for the environmentally conscious and those looking to save at the pump.

“Retail sites that are offering E15 tend to be very high-volume sites,” said O’Brien. “Retailers have told us the business they pick up from E15 and E85 far outweighs diesel. Plus, it alleviates the traffic problem under the canopy.”

A seamless transition

The transition from diesel doesn’t have to be stressful. O’Brien says that retailers haven’t had any troubles with the switch. Green says, “The Growth Energy team has been amazing. You’re never alone—we’re in this together, building a great brand, offering great fuels like E15 and E85.”

Diesel is not going away entirely anytime soon, but for retailers looking to get a bump in sales by offering flex fuels, transitioning to E15 is a great option.