The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has announced that — following plans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make another $100 million in biofuel infrastructure grants to increase availability of E15 and E85 — it will host top fuel marketers at the E15 and Flex Fuel Retailer Workshop.
The workshop will teach fuel retailers how to get their share of the available funds for new E15 and E85 equipment, and it will inform them about how other marketers have increased customer counts and profits selling higher ethanol blends.
The E15 and Flex Fuel Retailer Workshop features the manager of the USDA HBIIP grant program, two of the nation’s most successful E15 and E85 marketers, and others ready to help retailers obtain grants covering 50% or more of the cost of new dispensers and other equipment. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 3–5 p.m. at the Marriott Downtown-Capitol District in Omaha, Neb., and will kick-off the ACE annual conference.
“Retailers and anyone who works with them will learn how fuel marketers view higher ethanol blend opportunities in the current fuels marketplace, what it really costs to add those blends, how partnering with USDA can cut those costs in half and how ACE helps retailers navigate the process,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE chief marketing officer, who coordinated the event.
Randy Gard, chief operating officer of Bosselman Enterprises, which owns the Nebraska-based Pump & Pantry convenience store chain, and Jeff Wilkerson, government policy and regulatory affairs manager with California-based Pearson Fuels, one of the nation’s largest E85 distributors, will share the companies’ experience with making the switch and the help they were able to leverage along the way through HBIIP funding. Lamberty will provide an overview of the equipment, infrastructure and costs associated with adding higher ethanol blends, highlighting ACE’s online “Flex Check” E15 compatibility tool.
Jeff Carpenter, energy coordinator with USDA rural development managing HBIIP, will walk through program details and application process for the latest round of HBIIP funding, which is expected to be announced soon. The workshop will also offer retailers the opportunity to connect with grant writers and others who can help navigate the application process.
In addition to fuel retailers, ACE also has limited capacity for industry stakeholders who want to learn how to approach prospective retailers about this funding opportunity. More information about the event can be found on the ACE website.