Nebraska Ethanol Board offers retailer training for E15

By Nebraska Ethanol Board | November 11, 2019

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is urging Nebraska fuel retailers to join fellow Midwest states like Iowa and Minnesota in making E15 fuel more widely available to motorists. A move by the Trump Administration in May promised a surge in year-round sales, but consumers are asking for more availability in Nebraska.

To help fuel retailers learn more about the ease of selling E15, the Board is hosting a free E15 Workshop, including a keynote from Growth Energy’s Sara Brenden. The workshop will take place on Nov. 13 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk, Nebraska, from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

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,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “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 process 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 very little 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 cost burdens can be relieved through a grant program from the Nebraska Corn Board, who will award qualifying retailers money for equipment and infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. Jeff Wilkerson, director of market development for the Nebraska Corn Board, is one of several presenters who will highlight ways to make the process simple and affordable.

Brenden, manager of market development at Growth Energy, will begin the workshop with a keynote on Why E15. According to Growth Energy’s website, E15 offers retailers a competitive advantage and can generate more than 40 percent of total gasoline sales at retail. Growth says consumers have driven more than 10 billion miles on E15 and retailers have conducted millions of transactions.

To see the full agenda and to register, please visit the workshop informational page or www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

This the second in a series of E15 workshops hosted by the Nebraska Ethanol Board. 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 towards 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: Stanley Petroleum Maintenance, Inc., Nebraska Corn Board, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Nebraska Fuel Retailers Association, and the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Light snacks and beverages will be provided throughout the day.

The increase in E15 sales will provide an additional value-added market for Nebraska farmers and ethanol plants who are experiencing many challenges this 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.