By now, most of us are well aware of climate change and the emphasis it places on reducing our collective carbon footprint. The fact is, you can’t avoid the sustainability movement anymore. Here’s some background information to prove that sustainability doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s an opportunity for your c-store’s growth.
Policies Make Cents
California’s clean air program, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, may be the most well-known, but similar regulations are in place or in development across North America and throughout the world. The speed at which new legislation is being enacted means that fuel marketers must pay attention and be ready to adapt.
The good news is that there are many existing drop-in fuel solutions that can help fleets reach emission reduction targets in a quick and affordable way without sitting and waiting for electric. Biodiesel, renewable diesel and blends of the two are growing in acceptance as fleets and retailers realize their ease of use and effectiveness at reducing emissions.
The better news is that some of these options are incentivized under state and local policies. For example, Iowa retailers selling a B11 blend (that’s 11% biodiesel, 89% petroleum diesel) or higher are eligible for tax incentives totaling 8.5 cents per gallon. In Texas, a retailer can save up to 20 cents per gallon on the state fuel tax for selling B100. There are tax programs in other states too.
Biodiesel’s performance and maintenance benefits can also contribute to a lower total cost of ownership and a strong ROI, not only for your fleet clients but all customers, which will keep them coming back.
Options Lead to Opportunity
When fleets need to meet clean air regulations and win business with strong sustainability statistics, fuel options are critical. As noted above, biodiesel, renewable diesel and blends of both are outstanding drop-in solutions for several reasons.
Biodiesel blends work in existing diesel vehicles without the need for major investments, and retailers don’t need significant infrastructure changes. Performance is strong, and the ability of biodiesel to reduce emissions is reliable and impressive. Biodiesel is made from a variety of sustainable feedstocks, which means it’s widely available.
Renewable diesel is also good at reducing tailpipe emissions thanks to sustainable feedstocks. The supply largely ends up on the West Coast right now due to incentivized markets but expanding production will help drive growth across a broader geography.
One of the most intriguing options on the market is blending biodiesel and renewable diesel together. My company calls this REG Ultra Clean® and it’s one of the lowest-carbon liquid fuels available. REG Ultra Clean® provides the best of both worlds in terms of performance and emissions reduction, and blending in biodiesel can stretch renewable diesel supply.
Sustainability Means Success
Biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86% compared with petroleum diesel, and because of its ease of use and availability, it’s able to reduce emissions right away. That immediacy will help your fleet customers meet sustainability targets and help society combat climate change.
Fuel retailers sometimes view alternative fuels skeptically when it comes to performance or concerns about their customers’ use or any risk they may be exposed to by selling such products. There should be no such concern with biodiesel. In fact, the added lubricity provided by biodiesel actually decreases wear on fuel injectors and pumps, its higher Cetane leads to improved engine performance and its cleaner burn sends less particulate matter to diesel particulate filters.
Getting on board with sustainability doesn’t have to feel forced. Financial incentives, the opportunity to win new business, retain existing customers and the freedom of fuel choice should make you feel comfortable with — and actively interested in — the movement. If you have questions, I’d be happy to help.
Steve Klein is the senior manager, marketing, for the Renewable Energy Group (REG).