Fuels

Converting to E15 Is Easy: Here’s What Retailers Should Know

Between recent spikes in fuel prices, worldwide supply chain disruptions, environmental concerns and more, higher-ethanol biofuels have come to the forefront as a solution for retailers and consumers nationwide. On April 29, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a step to address shortages in fuel supply by issuing a waiver for year-round sales of E15—a 15% ethanol blend.

David Durling, Regional Sales Director at Growth Energy, provides information about E15 compatibility, distribution, profitability and more.

Compatibility is common

Concerns about compatibility—both with retailer equipment and consumer vehicles—often stem from common misconceptions; in actuality, most convenience stores can store and dispense E15 with little to no modifications to equipment on site. Currently, E15 is available at nearly 2,650 locations across the U.S., and distribution continues to expand.

“Especially as gas prices have risen to extreme highs, we’ve had a lot of retailers asking us, ‘Can we switch to E15 without changing our equipment?’ The answer in many, many cases is yes,” says Durling.

Most equipment installed within the last 20 years is already compatible, as are all steel and fiberglass tanks. Any car built after 2001—which is 98% of all registered vehicles on the road—can run on the fuel. And for retailers seeking further confirmation of compatibility, the experts at Growth Energy are available to help.

“Here on the market development team at Growth Energy, we’re very familiar with the equipment, and we know how to work with state regulators,” says Durling. “Even if a retailer purchased a store and didn’t necessarily know or have documentation of what equipment they have, we can help identify what equipment they have and when it was put in.”

Pricing and profits

As fuel prices continue to stay high, E15 has given many retailers the opportunity to compete for market share and expand margins.

“E15 opens you up to more flexibility on your price sign,” says Durling. “Especially for small- and mid-market retailers, this gives them an opportunity to compete. In some areas, I’ve seen E15 priced at 30 or 40 cents less than other fuels; it’s to the retailer’s discretion whether they translate that higher margin into offering a lower price or making a greater profit.”

C-stores are just beginning to unlock all that E15 has to offer, and Growth Energy is here to help—from assessing equipment compatibility, connecting with a distributor and strategizing how best to market the fuel.

“I’ve been in the oil and gas industry for a while, and the people at Growth Energy are absolutely the most knowledgeable in regards to what’s going on in the ethanol industry,” says Durling.

To learn more, visit growthenergy.org.

This post is sponsored by Growth Energy

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