E15 A Winner For 
 Retailers, Consumers

Retailers selling E15 say business is up, consumers are satisfied and everyone is excited to help local economies, improve the environment and reduce our nation’s addiction to foreign oil, writes Tom Buis of Growth Energy.
By Tom Buis | March 16, 2015

The momentum for E15 was set in motion six years ago when Growth Energy filed the Green Jobs Waiver with the U.S. EPA. After 6 million miles of testing by the Department of Energy on 86 vehicles, the EPA approved the fuel for commercial use. Now, just a few short years later, E15 is being offered across America.

In 2011, NASCAR selected Sunoco Green E15 as its official racing fuel, and now the sport is entering its fifth year running on E15 After millions of miles on the road and on the track, the force behind E15 has become unstoppable, and the fuel retail world has taken notice. Major players like Mapco, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec, Zarco USA, Petro Serve USA and Cenex recognized the competitive advantage E15 offers, responded to strong consumer demand for a low-cost, high-performance fuel and added E15 to their offerings at the pump. This growing excitement and energy confirms something our industry has long known to be true—E15 is a win for consumers, for retailers and for America.

We reached out to a number of retailers across the country that are selling E15 and asked them to candidly share their experiences with us. The feedback we received was glowing—business is up, consumers are satisfied and everyone is excited to help local economies, improve the environment and reduce our nation’s addiction to foreign oil.

Here are a few highlights from our retailer interviews.    

• “Adding higher ethanol blends like E15 is the best thing I've done in 20-plus years of station ownership. It gives me a competitive price advantage and my customers like the new fuel. We've had zero customer complaints.”

• “E15 has given us a competitive advantage in an industry that’s severely lacking any product differentiation. All fueling stations fight for the same customers by offering essentially the same product. E15 has allowed us to separate from our competitors by offering a fuel that is nearly identical in performance to regular unleaded (E10) for less money.”

• “We have customers very excited about our adding E15. As soon as they heard we were adding higher blends of ethanol, they started walking in the door of our store asking when the new products will be available. We've only been offering E15 for about three weeks but business has been very good for us.”

• “My business has been selling E15 for 13 months and we have had zero misfuelings and zero issues with customer vehicles related to using E15. The customers that are using E15 have noticed no mileage loss, the same engine performance and savings at the pump. It's a win-win for the consumer, the retailer and the environment.”

These firsthand accounts are supported by the latest data we’ve received from participating retailers. In January, E15 sales accounted for 18 percent of their total sales, which is tremendous. This percentage has been steadily growing, up from 13.85 percent in November and 16.47 percent in December.

In the first months of this year alone, we’ve charted new territories and have seen the footprint of E15 expand to Mountain Express in the heart of Georgia and Caraf Oil by the beaches of Miami. E15 will soon be expanding throughout North Carolina with Sheetz and the suburbs of Houston and Chicago with Murphy USA. E15 is currently available at more than 100 stations across the nation in 17 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. It’s been a resounding success with retailers that add the fuel and we know it’s only a matter of time before E15 is offered in every state in the nation.

We commend these leaders in the fuel retail marketplace for their pioneering spirit and for their efforts to expand consumer access to higher blends of renewable fuels that improve the environment, create jobs at home and strengthen our energy and national security. By introducing more homegrown, renewable fuels into the marketplaces, they’re making it convenient for consumers to make a difference and make 2015 the year of E15.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy
202-545-4000
tbuis@growthenergy.org