Fuels

Environmental Benefits, Price Advantage Drive E15 Sales Nationwide

There are a number of reasons selling E15 - a 15% ethanol blend - is as good for the environment as it is for convenience store retailers’ bottom lines: Plant-based biofuels like ethanol are renewable, and they burn cleaner than fossil fuels. Especially as E15 continues to penetrate new markets and draw sales from loyal customers nationwide, the environmental benefits of fuel blended with biofuel only strengthen the value proposition for a fuel more and more motorists are coming to know and love.

In fact, Growth Energy recently launched a new consumer initiative in Salt Lake City, Utah and Raleigh, North Carolina. Growth Energy saw success in growing awareness around the environmental benefits of higher biofuel blends as well as an uptick in store visits. This program also incorporated a partnership with GasBuddy that helped drive interested consumers to the pump for E15, often marketed by retailers as UNL88.

As many retailers seek to reduce their carbon footprint, adding E15 to their fuel lineup can help achieve that goal. Chris Bliley, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy, discusses E15’s environmental benefits and explains how retailers can draw sales from eco-conscious consumers.

How is E15 better for the environment? For air quality?

CB: Ethanol, compared to gasoline, offers a 46% average reduction in carbon emissions. Nearly every gasoline today is blended with 10% ethanol; E10 is the default fuel of the U.S. But even just moving up to 15% ethanol makes for a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air toxics such as particulate emissions and carbon monoxide.

Recent Growth Energy research found that if we increased to an E15 national fuel standard, we’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 17 million tons a year—the equivalent of taking 4 million vehicles off the road.

Why do consumers prefer E15?

CB: To date, consumers have driven 25 billion miles on E15. Consumer retention is high, and awareness of the higher biofuel blend’s environmental benefits is growing. Plus, making the switch to E15 is simple: E15 is approved for vehicles made in 2001 or newer, which is more than 95% of vehicles on the road today.

How do retailers benefit by selling E15?

CB: An overwhelming percentage of retailer infrastructure is already approved for E15. Major dispenser manufacturers have approved it for most of their equipment, and underground storage tanks made in about the last 30 years are approved for up to 100% ethanol. E15 is already available at 267 terminals, and major distributors, like Magellan, already offer pre-blended E15 as a “house recipe,” which means lower costs and higher returns for retailers.

In addition to the environmental benefits, E15 is profitable. Traditionally, we’ve seen E15 selling for less per gallon than 87/E10 while maintaining the same margin. Retailers selling E15 are seeing the price benefit as well as the consumer’s desire to have a decreased carbon footprint.

In short, E15 offers retailers an opportunity that’s right for their customers, their margins and the environment. Interested retailers can visit E15Advantage.com or learn more about higher biofuel blends at GetBiofuel.com.

This post is sponsored by Growth Energy

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