Offering the fuel varieties consumers prefer has always been a key sales driver, but now, it’s crucial. Technomic’s Q3 2020 C-Store Consumer Marketbrief reports that fuel customer conversion is up from the previous quarter; paying for gas is the No. 1 reason consumers go inside convenience stores nowadays, with 64% of consumers citing that as the reason they enter the store.
To reap the benefits of maximizing fuel sales, c-store retailers must first identify which fuels are continuing to grow within the market, promising increasing returns in the future. And hardly any fuel fits the description more closely than high-ethanol biofuel E15, also known as Unleaded 88.
Within the last several years, E15 has seen exponential growth across the country. Between 2013 and 2017, enough E15 was sold to fuel 1 billion miles driven. Currently, E15 has fueled a whopping 17 billion miles—after surpassing 15 billion miles earlier this summer. This would be a notable achievement in itself, much less with pandemic-related challenges battering the market.
Thanks to growing popularity among loyal consumers, more and more c-store sites are beginning to offer E15. More than 2,250 sites are currently selling it—a 10% increase from December of last year. This increase includes the addition of E15 at locations of some of the industry’s biggest names, such as Casey’s, Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Pump & Pantry, Cumberland Farms, Family Express, Kum & Go, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Nuvu Fuel, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, Racetrac, Royal Farms, Thorntons, and United Dairy Farmers. E15 sees a strong rate of conversion among first-time users as well, keeping demand on a steady incline.
Importantly, at the heart of this rapid growth is the quality of E15 itself. Growth Energy reports that, even after millions of E15 transactions completed by retailers, not a single fuel related issue has been reported among consumers. E15 plays well with the vast majority of consumer vehicles and retailer equipment, too; any car manufactured in 2001 or later ( 95% of registered vehicles in the U.S.) can use the fuel, and many retailers’ sites are already more compatible with E15 than they may realize. What’s more, it’s uncommon for retailers to need any major equipment renovations to sell it. Most equipment manufactured after 1980 is compatible for blends above 10% ethanol, and the majority of currently installed underground storage tanks made within the last 30 years are approved to store up to 100% ethanol, which is well above the required capacity.
Now more than ever, selling E15 is a smart choice for retailers looking to boost fuel sales and fuel customer conversion in an otherwise challenging market. And the experts at Growth Energy ensure that the transition to selling E15 is as smooth as possible: From assessing on-site compatibility, to equipping retailers with key marketing information, to providing resources for curious consumers, Growth Energy offers everything retailers need to take advantage of all E15 has to offer.
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This post is sponsored by Growth Energy