WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kum & Go is ramping up its commitment to E15 by rolling out the 15% ethanol blend to 100 or more sites by the end of this year.
Last April, Kum & Go, which has more than 430 sites in 11 states, began selling E15 at a site in Windsor Heights, Iowa. At the time, Jim Pirolli, vice president of fuels at the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain, told CSP Daily News that the initial plan was to offer E15 at 65 sites in Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota over the next two years. Should sales be strong, that figure could ramp up to 80 to 100 sites. Kum & Go ranked No. 17 on CSP's 2016 list of the Top 101 largest c-store chains.
Pirolli recently told attendees at a Nebraska ethanol conference that the chain now plans to install blending pumps for E15 at 30 new sites and retrofit pumps at 70 other locations, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Kum & Go’s decision to add E15 was a deliberative, two-year process. This follows its success with the 85% ethanol blend E85, which is available at more than 160 locations.
“We sell more E85 in Nebraska than any other state, and we expect to sell more E15,” Pirolli told conference attendees. “People want cheap gas, they want the option.”
Kum & Go’s latest 6,000-square-foot Marketplace format, which features its Go Fresh Market, an open kitchen and beer cave among other amenities, will provide the backdrop for the 30 new sites. Pirolli said they will include underground storage tanks and other infrastructure required to offer higher-level ethanol blends, including E30, a 30% ethanol blend, as well as E85.
Thus far, Kum & Go has sold enough E15 to fuel 72 million miles of car trips, Pirolli said. He noted that the chain has heard no customer complaints about misfueling or engine problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved E15’s use in vehicle model years 2001 and newer, but not in older vehicles or small engines such as motorcycles and marine engines.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about ethanol,” Pirolli told attendees. “As a fuel, it is fine for cars.”
In a statement, Tom Buis, co-chair of ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy, complimented Kum & Go for responding to consumer demand for “lower cost, higher performing and more environmentally friendly fuel” with the addition of E15.
“This milestone underlines the fact that American consumers have embraced E15 for the savings it provides at the pump and because they demand 21st-century fuel for 21st-century cars,” Buis said. “E15 is specially designed to work with today’s modern cars because the extra octane helps engines perform at their best.”