Ethanol’s benefit to retailers highlighted at NACS show

By Matt Thompson | October 23, 2019

Ethanol took center stage at the National Association of Retail Stores’ show in Atlanta earlier this month. Jake Comer, fuel pricing manager for Casey’s general stores, participated in a panel titled “Successfully retailing Biofuels” during the show. “I focused on sharing my perspective on how convenience store retailers can succeed with biofuels, including E85, E15 and biodiesel,” Comer said. “I shared the journey we’ve been on at Casey’s along with some examples of marketing and tips on how to get into biofuels.”

Comer said the presentation went well, and his audience represented many different aspects of the retail fuel industry. “Retailers are very interested in biofuels and how they can contribute to a fuel strategy,” Comer said. “The discussion mostly involved how to get E15 to market as retailers have decided to offer it, but now they’re working through the details.”

Casey’s began offering E15 prior to the announcement earlier this year of the extension of the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver, allowing year-round sales of the fuel. And Comer said the chain plans to continue expanding its offering of the fuel. “We have more than 150 stores offering E15 today, and we plan to reach approximately 500 stores in the next few years,” he said.

Ron Lamberty, senior vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, also attended the show. “We did have quite a few people from pump and equipment companies come and talk to us about what they have to do when they when they sell E15, in particular,” Lamberty said. “There seemed to be an increased interest in E15,” he said, adding that most of the questions fielded at ACE’s booth were about E15 and the equipment needed to sell the fuel.

While Lamberty wasn’t able to attend Comer’s presentation, he said he did receive feedback from several retailers. “We had some of the people, friends we’ve made over the years with companies like Kwik Trip, Kum & Go and Casey’s, stop by to tell us how they’re doing, and they’re doing well, he said. “They’re expanding and they’re putting in more E15 and E85.”