Nebraska fuel retailers add ethanol options to set themselves apart
A local gas retailer wants to show the competition who's "boss" when it comes to biofuels.
“We've got options, we've got a lot of things our customers don't have,” said Charlie Bosselman, president of Bosselman Enterprises.
On a day when the snow was flying, the shovels were moving dirt outside the Pump and Pantry on the corner of Webb Road and Old Potash in Grand Island, making way for new choices at the pump.
Charlie Bosselman unveils a new line of fuels his company calls “Bossfuel”.
“Fuel is our #1 product that we sell, so it should be an item we take the most concern with,” he said.
While most gas stations give customers two choices, many of the Pump and Pantry stores have as many as five fuels to pick from.
“Everything from premium gasoline to clear gasoline, to E15, E30, E85,” Bosselman said.
The company president said options are good.
“But it's also to promote and help develop ethanol in Nebraska,” he explained.
One of the company’s executives sits on the Ethanol Board.
Randy Gard said, “Three years ago we really predicted the emerging E15 demand and use of renewable fuels and ethanol and then the relationship between our organization, the Ethanol Board, and producers, we started to hone in on that customers will want higher octane, higher blended fuels for their vehicles.”
The Ethanol Board says fuel dispensers like the ones the Bosselmans are putting in can cost about $35,000 each, and the Bosselmans have a dozen going in.
Adapting to the new ethanol blends can be a challenge for fuel retailers.
Gary Brandt, VP of Energy for Cooperative Products Inc. said it’s not easy to add higher blends like E15 that Pres. Trump recently announced support for.
“Bringing E15 sometimes isn't as simple as changing the label and changing the product. There's a lot of infrastructure that goes along,” Brandt said.
Hastings based CPI has opted to change some locations to all ethanol.
Brandt said, “You have these revelations now and then. We're a co-op. We need to support the folks that support us. How do we do that? By using more corn. How do you use more corn, sell ethanol.”
CPI has E15 in Giltner, Juniata, and now Funk.
Back at Pump and Pantry, Charlie Bosselman wants Nebraska-grown, Nebraska-made ethanol to draw customers and their dollars in.
“Get a fountain drink and a hot dog to go as you pull out of the parking lot,” he said.
Two Grand Island Pump and Pantry stores will be the first with the Bossfuel line. They are located on Capital Avenue, and the one at the corner of Webb and Potash.
Bosselman and Gard said more locations would be coming in the future.