The U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency has finally permitted the year around sale of E15. As a fuel with a higher octane rating and a lower price than E10, it hardly comes as a surprise why gas stations want to add E15 to their product mix. Are you planning to upgrade to E15 too? Wait; no need to act with haste. There are a few key considerations you need to weigh in first, particularly with regards to your gas station equipment, before you go setting a launch date and telling your customers about the good news.
Gas Station Equipment Considerations for E15
To handle E15 at your site, you need to have E15-certified equipment, and it’s highly unlikely that all of your current gas station equipment meet this criteria. Our advice would be to consult a gas station equipment supplier or a service professional near you and ask them about which of your pre-existing equipment needs upgrading. Make a list of those equipment, calculate the total investment, and then decide whether you’re ready to offer E15 to your fuel customers or not.
Another important consideration you need to weigh in is how you intend to source the fuel. Are you interestedin blending the fuel onsite or do you see yourself purchasing pre-blended stock from a local terminal? In either case, there are costs associated. With the first approach, you’ll need to purchase a blending dispenser. With the latter, you’ll need to find a terminal that can sell you pre-blended E15 at a good price.Compare the cost of both the solutions and go with the one that’s more cost effective. Currently, there is an absence of terminals in the western U.S that offer E15. So, if you’re located in the region, the only way to sell E15 at your gas station is to purchase a blending dispenser and have E10 and E85 blended on your fuel site.
Lastly, please know that higher ethanol blends attract more water than lower ethanol blends. This means, you’ll have to be extra vigilant when monitoring your E15 stock and fuel tank system to make sure water does not contaminate your site.
Upgrading to E15 can be a good idea and can help you bring more fuel customers to your gas station. But like every other project, this one also requires thorough diligence and proper planning.
For further reading: How to preserve fuel customer loyalty amidst price hikes