ACE: Real cost of adding E15, flex fuels addressed in new video

By American Coalition for Ethanol | January 04, 2018

The American Coalition for Ethanol has announced the release of the third video in a series of fuel marketer-focused videos on flexfuelforward.com, part of a campaign featuring real world E15 and flex fuel retailers sharing their experiences with adding and marketing the fuels. This video addresses one of the most common misconceptions about adding higher ethanol blends—that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for the equipment needed to sell E15 and flex fuels.

The episode features retailers who either found they already had equipment that was compatible with E15 and flex fuels, or utilized programs available to help pay the difference between standard and flex fuel equipment. While many reports have focused on major retailers like Sheetz, QuikTrip, Kum & Go, and Casey’s adding E15 and flex fuels, this video shows the addition can be affordable and profitable for any size retailer.

One example is the epitome of a ‘mom and pop’ convenience store in the town of Gothenburg, Nebraska. Gwen and Barry McDiarmid now offer E10, E15, E30, E40, and E85 at their renovated Blue Heron Renewable Flex Fuel Plaza.

“The help that was available made it a real possibility,” said Gwen McDiarmid. “It was the reassurance that we got that this was something we could do and wouldn’t leave us bankrupt.” McDiarmid said they have been pleased with the results. “The fuel sales immediately doubled and I think now they’re still going up, possibly triple, from what we were averaging with the old pumps we had. We expected growth, we didn’t expect it to be so fast and so much.”

“The cost is nowhere near what ethanol opponents have claimed to try to scare people away from adding the fuels,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President and host of each episode. “Don’t confuse adding E15 with adding all new equipment. A lot of marketers would be surprised to find out their equipment is compatible now.”

Medium-sized convenience store chains are finding it affordable too. Bosselman Enterprises owns 50 Pump & Pantry stores. They added E15 and flex fuels at almost no cost and are very pleased with the results.

“We identified the dispensers, adjusted the blends, changed the overlays and were off running,” said James Poynter of Bosselmans' Pump & Pantry. “The response has been great—our E15 and E85 sales have virtually exploded.”

“Every location is different, and in the end, you have to make this decision for yourself,” Lamberty said. “Don’t take my word for it—do your research. Check with others just like you who’ve made the change to E15 and flex fuels and, as a result, added more volume, more inside sales and more profits than they’ve ever seen before.”

Retailers interested in more information about E15 and flex fuels, ethanol marketing and promotion, infrastructure, or logistics can contact Lamberty at ACE.