Sheetz Adds E15 in Altoona

Ethanol blend debuts in chain’s hometown

ALTOONA, Pa. -- Sheetz Inc. has added E15, the 15% ethanol blend, to a site in its hometown of Altoona, Pa.

This marks Sheetz’s 16th location in Pennsylvania that offers E15, according to the Altoona Mirror. The store, located at 400 E. Plank Rd., is the first gas station in Altoona to sell the fuel blend, which Sheetz has branded as Unleaded 15. Another location in Altoona sells E85, an 85% ethanol blend.

Sheetz has been rolling out E15 in five of the six states where it operates, including Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. Recently, it opened its 10th E15 location in Virginia, with 10 more in the pipeline. It has not yet announced plans to add E15 to sites in Maryland.

Mike Lorenz, executive vice president of petroleum supply at Sheetz, told the newspaper that the addition of E15 expands its Altoona customers’ fuel choices to five, including three grades of E10 with 87, 89 and 93 octane. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved E15’s use in vehicle models 2001 and newer, or about 90% of vehicles on the road.

Lorenz pointed to E15’s competitive advantages to regular-grade E10.

“It is cheaper than 87, about 7 cents per gallon,” he said. “It is cleaner-burning with a higher octane (88). It gets about the same mileage but gives a little more power.”

He said that Sheetz is adding Unleaded 15 to existing sites where possible, as well as new builds.

Another local fuel retailer, however, has “no immediate plans” to add E15. Martin Oil Co., Bellwood, Pa., owns the Martin General Stores chain in Pennsylvania, as well as Reighard's Gold Star Service, a full-service gas station in Altoona. “We haven’t seen the need for it,” Tom Martin, president, told the newspaper. “People haven’t been asking for it.”

Founded in 1952 in Altoona, Pa., Sheetz Inc. has more than 500 stores in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina.

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