LINCOLN — Dan O’Neill, president and CEO of Kwik Stop Convenience Stores, attended an E15 Retailer Workshop. Now, O’Neill will be adding blender pumps for E15, E30 and E85 at five Kwik Stop locations. According to the Board, O’Neill is one of many attendees who have given positive feedback and plan to start the process of selling E15.
“Since January 2019, we’re aware of more than 30 new E15 locations in Nebraska, bringing the total to more than 85 in the state,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “And that number is quickly growing. It is very encouraging and it shows that retailers are seeing the value in adding E15. We’re hosting these free workshops to make the process even easier. Our speakers present but also answer questions about regulations, share the hiccups they may have faced, and talk about grants to make implementation more affordable.”
The Board will host its third E15 Workshop Feb. 20 at Hyatt Place in downtown Lincoln, from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Robert White, VP of Industry Relations with Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), will kick off the workshop as keynote. According to RFA, there was enough E15 sold in 2019 to fuel nearly 650,000 vehicles for the entire year. RFA noted there are many reasons for continued optimism, including the USDA’s new Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program that is in the works, and the administration has committed to streamline E15 labeling and to reduce other barriers.
Some retailers have been reluctant to retrofit their pumps for E15 due to misconceptions about cost and installation.
“Many gas stations can begin to sell E15 with very little investment in their current infrastructure,” Berry said. “That’s why we are holding this complimentary workshop to debunk the myths and allow retailers to hear firsthand from others who’ve gone through the process.”
Berry explains that the installation depends on everyone’s unique circumstances, but it can be as simple as a quick switch.
“If a pre-blended E15 is available at the rack where the fuel retailer sources their fuel, they can often times replace one of their current choices, such as an 89-octane mid-grade that they generally sell less of, with very little to no investment. The retailer does not have to install the more expensive blender pumps in order to sell E15.”
Additionally, some of the cost burdens can be relieved through various grant programs that award qualifying retailers money for equipment and infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel.
To see the full agenda and to register, please visit ethanol.nebraska.gov.
Previous participants have said:
“I found the Fuel Retailer’s E15 Workshop to be fascinating. It was very informative and I learned a lot about the ethanol industry. We already sell some E15, but this inspired me to work toward making the switch to E15 at more locations. I also learned some good ideas to better promote the product and grow our sales.”
“We have been pondering whether to take on E15. With what I learned and will be sharing with my team, I feel pretty strongly that we will be making the move. The E15 workshop was very educational and helpful.”
The workshop is free thanks to the event sponsors: Midwest Petroleum Equipment, Nebraska Corn Board, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Nebraska Fuel Retailers Association, and the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Light snacks and beverages will be provided throughout the afternoon.
Recent stats from Growth Energy report there are 2,081 retail locations in 30 states offering E15. The increase in E15 sales will provide an additional value-added market for Nebraska farmers and ethanol plants who experienced a challenging last year. Weather, the strain of tariffs that have cut U.S. exports drastically, and the EPA’s indiscriminate approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs) are weighing heavily on the industry. Fuel retailers who offer E15 will not only be driving customers seeking lower costs and environmental change to their stores, they will have a real impact on Nebraska’s farmers and economy, Berry said.
The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.
— Nebraska Ethanol Board
For more news from Nebraska, click here.