You’ve heard about beverage mashups, right? That’s when different types of drinks are combined, like coffee plus a carbonated beverage.
Regardless of what you personally think about such a concoction, what’s important is that many of your customers like it. In fact, Convenience Store Decisions has talked about it as one of the biggest trends in the c-store industry.
So how’s that related to the fuel you offer? Quite a bit, actually.
A lesson from the beverage mashup trend is that people are willing to combine things they like in order to get a product that meets their needs.
That’s one reason biodiesel usage has increased in the U.S. by over 110% since 2012, according to federal data. Biodiesel is blended with petroleum diesel, and users get a product that reduces emissions, often costs less and has performance advantages compared with petroleum diesel alone.
In fact, the use of biodiesel can be tied to several other c-store trends:
Responsible foodservice and sustainability — Earlier this year, CSD reported that customers are “demanding increased awareness and responsibility from foodservice operators on social and environmental issues” and “want to align themselves with brands that fit their lifestyle and values.”
Climate change is the environmental issue of our time, and the transportation sector is the largest source of U.S. emissions. That’s a big reason more individual drivers and fleets are switching to biodiesel blends. My company, Renewable Energy Group, has run the numbers on the emissions of the biodiesel we produce versus other fuels. Take a look at how much highergreenhouse gas emissions are with these fuels than with our biodiesel:
- 580% — petroleum diesel
- 435% — compressed natural gas
- 190% — electric vehicle running on natural gas-derived electricity
If your customers care about how the food they buy from your store is sourced and packaged, then they are definitely going to care about the environmental impact of the fuel they put in their vehicles.
Craft beer — What does the rise of craft beer in c-stores (and everywhere, really) tell you about your customers? One thing is that they care about quality. Biodiesel is a high-quality product too, one that meets stringent ASTM standards. It can also offer several performance benefits for diesel vehicles, including:
- Increased lubricity — Reduces wear on fuel injection systems and contributes to smoother, quieter, cooler engines.
- Higher Cetane — Equals a shorter ignition time, which leads to more complete combustion and more efficient engine operation.
- Reduced diesel particulate filter issues — Biodiesel’s cleaner burn can reduce clogging of diesel particulate filters, regenerations and wear on the component.
Home delivery — Home delivery is all about convenience, and it’s on the riseamong retailers. Biodiesel also adds convenience — both for your customers and for you. Biodiesel blends do not require vehicle updates. Your customers can fill up and go. If you get blended fuel from your supplier, no fuel infrastructure changes are necessary on your part. If you choose to blend the fuel yourself, retailers report a quick and worthwhile return on investment.
Don’t miss out
A trend is defined as a general movement in which something is changing. In business, it’s important to stay on top of trends, or else your customers will start to look elsewhere and the competition will pass you by. To learn more about how you can push your fuel forward, visit www.regi.com.