TJ Convenience Stores Double Traffic with Multiple Ethanol Blends

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TJ Convenience Stores Double Traffic with Multiple Ethanol Blends

COLWICH, Kan. -- By offering four blends of ethanol fuel, the Colwich-based TJ Convenience store has doubled its traffic, reported The Wichita Eagle.

The station upgrade was paid for by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (ICM), a Colwich-based ethanol plant design company.

ICM along with the Kansas Corn Commission announced on Monday they hope to assist in the switching of 100 Kansas gas stations in the coming year. The stations would offer E10, which is 10 percent ethanol, and a range of higher blends.

ICM President David Vander Griend told the paper that adding blending pumps at gas stations provides the retailer with the 51-cent federal subsidy rather than the fuel terminal.

Vander said when savings are passed on to consumers, demand increases. At TJ Convenience, for example, E10 is a nickel cheaper than unleaded, E20 is a dime less, E30 is 15 cents less, and E85 is 50 cents less.

Stations that convert would receive $2,500 from the Kansas Corn Commission and tax credits from state and federal governments to defray costs. While the ethanol industry has long wanted driven demand for ethanol, it has been an uphill battle getting stations streamlined.

"It’s always been a chicken-and-egg thing," Robert White, deputy director of the Ethanol Council, told the paper.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has demonstrated limited interest in testing E20 or other blends as fuel for regular cars, it is focusing on a Green Gas Station Initiative aimed at reducing polluting air emissions from gasoline storage tanks. To this end, the EPA awarded a $50,000 innovation grant to further the pilot project.

The Capital Times reported that a collaboration between the coalition, the convenience store industry and petroleum equipment suppliers has resulted in the installation of 100 pressure vent valves at stores with high-volume gasoline sales throughout Dane County, Wis.

To date, valves have been installed at approximately 100 gas stations and are expected to prevent 95 percent of gasoline vapor emissions. Ed Jepsen, an air quality specialist for the state Department of Natural Resources, told the paper the two participating gas stations paid roughly $10,000 each toward the cost of acquiring and installing of the vapor recovery systems.