Kum & Go has been a leader in alternative and renewable fuels blending for a number of years. Growing its fuel portfolio over the last several years, Kum & Go today offers E15 at 129 locations across nine states. The chain also offers E85 at 216 locations across 10 states.
Some might find it surprising that the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain offers biodiesel at 248 of nearly 420 store locations. About a decade ago, the company introduced biodiesel and now blends biodiesel into nearly all of its diesel fuel. That varies from 5-20% (known as B5 and B20), and it offers biodiesel year-round.
“At Kum & Go, we are all about making days better and one way that we achieve that is by giving our guests more fueling choices,” said Sam Herro, fuels pricing manager at Kum & Go. “Providing both biodiesel and ethanol choices across a broad geography is important to making that happen.”
Made primarily from vegetable oils or fats, such as soybean oil, biodiesel continues to serve as an essential element of our nation’s fuel supply and has slowly gained popularity among U.S. retailers.
Troy Shoen, senior manager of marketing for the Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group, said more than 1,000 retailers nationwide are marketing biodiesel blends above B5 (5% biodiesel). The number continues to rise, including in the c-store channel, Shoen said.
“Yes, we hear from c-stores daily who are interested in learning more about how they can incorporate the advantages of biodiesel into their fuel program,” said Shoen.
Shoen said biodiesel adoption is primarily driven by reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved engine performance in U.S. vehicles and financial or compliance benefits to the retailer.
“The fact that biodiesel is produced from primarily waste products, which a few years ago were disposed of, is a significant benefit. It helps biodiesel to be the lowest carbon intensity liquid fuel available,” said Shoen. “This has monetary value in states like California or Oregon, which offer Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits for using biodiesel, but it also has efficacy benefits to other retailers in other states who want to do what is right for our environment.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the February edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook report, maintaining its January forecast that ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day in both 2018 and 2019, mirroring biodiesel production in 2017.
The U.S. electric vehicle market had a solid first half in 2017, growing almost 40% year-over-year to 90,302 vehicles, according to FleetCarma, a connected car technology provider. If treated as one model, plug-in electric vehicles would have been the 24th best-selling vehicle in the U.S.