Retailers to share E15, flex fuel experience at ACE conference


A flex fuel retailer panel will be part of the general session lineup again this year at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 31st annual conference, August 15-17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty will moderate a discussion between returning panelist Bob O’Connor, owner of Wisconsin-based JETZ Convenience Centers, and first-time panelist Glenn Badenhop, owner of Ohio-based American Freedom Energy, both who have made the switch to higher ethanol blends.

With the prospect for year-round access to E15 as ripe as ever, the ACE conference provides these retailers with a timely platform — in the middle of the summertime ban on E15 — to share successes and challenges in E15 and flex fuel retailing, what they’ve seen so far, and how they view the future of biofuels.  The panel is entitled “E15 and Flex Fuel: How’s that working out for you?” and will take place at 8:30 a.m. Central on Friday, August 17.

“These discussions are an opportunity for ethanol producers and others to hear firsthand from retailers how we can help them sell more of the product we produce,” Lamberty said. “With BIP [Blender Infrastructure Program] in the rearview mirror, I’ll also ask these retailers what they think needs to be done to expand future ethanol sales.”

“Jetz changed their E15 to Unleaded-88 since last year, so we’ll get an update from Bob on how that affected sales,” Lamberty added. “Glenn’s retailing of higher ethanol blends has run the gamut of experiences we’ve seen among a variety of marketers, and he’ll be able to offer some fresh perspective from the fringe of the Midwest, where ethanol production doesn’t dominate the discussion.”

“I am looking forward to telling people what we’ve done with E15 and flex fuels since attending the ACE conference last year,” O’Connor said. “Jetz was the first Milwaukee retailer to offer E15 two years ago and we added a location in Muskego last year. Our stations are located in a low-RVP [Reid vapor pressure] market, so we can promote and sell E15 year-round, and the higher octane and lower price of E15 continues to bring in new business. There are challenges, but I look forward to discussing what I’ve learned about marketing higher blends over the past year.”

“As a third-generation farmer, I understand what ethanol does for rural economies and what it did for my bottom line when it first came out,” Badenhop said. “I believe the education process is huge when it comes to selling higher ethanol blends, and I look forward to sharing my experience with helping customers make good fuel choices at my station with the ACE conference audience.”