In July 2012, Scott Zaremba was the country’s first fuel retailer to offer E15. At the time, his company was known as Zarco 66, a Phillips 66 fuel retailer. Within the last few weeks, however, Zaremba’s company has been renamed Zarco USA. The Kansas retailer severed ties with the Phillips 66 brand after Phillips’ policies placed restrictions on how he could sell E15. Zaremba chose to go independent and created his own brand, “American Fuels.” This includes ethanol and biodiesel blends that the Kansas retailer sources from within 100 miles of his eight Kansas City-area fuel stations. There are about 10 biofuel plants in this area. This, combined, with Zarco USA’s efforts, will help customers be able to “fuel local.”
Sales of E15 are going well, but Zaremba acknowledges the need to continue to educate consumers about what E15 is and how it may be used (in vehicle models 2001 and newer). The Kansas retailer has launched a big advertising campaign for his American Fuels brand, using television, radio, newspaper and social media. He also is spreading the word to organizations, such as the Farm Bureau and local Chambers of Commerce.
Zaremba has received positive feedback about E15, some consumers adding that they have been getting better mileage because E15 is an octane point higher than regular unleaded. This has been particularly the case with vehicle models 2010 and 2013, Zaremba says. “It’s encouraging to see that we’re going to have more vehicles that can take advantage of E15,” he adds.
Zaremba has been receiving several calls from other fuel retailers about E15 and how they should structure their facilities to add the blend to their product mix. However, they often face restrictions in their retail contracts from major oil companies that are concerned about ethanol and biodiesel blends biting into their market share, Zaremba says.
More retailer bill of rights legislation across the country would help retailers be able to offer other fuel products, including ethanol and biodiesel blends, for their customers. A wider variety of fuel products would also help retailers improve their margins, Zaremba suggests.