B100 available at Root Fuel's Wallisville Road station in Houston

By Ron Kotrba | July 23, 2015

Six months after opening its Wallisville Road fuel station in Houston selling B20, Root Fuel is now offering B50 and B100 at the same location. “It’s a big, big day,” said Root Fuel CEO Justin Heller. “We finally opened our B100 and B50 pumps. It’s been eight years in the making, and I finally did it.”

Root Fuel has two unmanned fueling stations in Houston that were leased in December 2013. The company began offering B20 at both locations almost immediately. Last August, Heller closed on a Small Business Administration loan that allowed him to purchase the Wallisville station, while Root Fuel’s other location on Wayside Drive continues to be leased.

The Wallisville Road site now has one pump (two lanes) that dispenses B100 and unleaded gasoline. Another pump (also two lanes) is a blender pump that sells B20, B50 and B100. All other pumps at the site dispense B20, and one also sells diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Wayne Fueling Systems is the manufacturer for all of Root Fuel’s dispensers. 

Root Fuel’s objective, according to Heller, is to utilize the existing, relatively low-cost cardlock infrastructure to create a fueling experience that changes the way consumers think and feel about fuel. “The idea is to leverage drop-in alternatives such as biodiesel today, while establishing a nationwide infrastructure and a brand to distribute the next-generation fuels for the advanced vehicles of tomorrow, all while incrementally reducing our carbon emissions, creating energy security, and prosperity as more and more energy dollars stay in America,” Heller said.

Heller told Biodiesel Magazine that he is selling B100 for 20 cents a gallon less than his B20 blends, and 10 cents less than B50. “I don’t sell [uncut] petroleum diesel,” Heller said. “I sell B20 as my lowest blend and primary fuel. It is $2.599 right now, and that’s 7 cents less than my closest competitor’s petro. B50 is $2.499 and B100 is $2.399.” Heller said he purchases RINless B99 at a discount to diesel fuel, and biodiesel is exempt from the Texas state excise tax of 20 cents per gallon.

While Heller hoped to offer B100 and B50 by springtime, there was a delay in getting B50 and B100 product codes entered into the fleet cards.

The company has been meeting with Clean Cities to aid with the education component of dispensing biodiesel, helping customers understand that biodiesel is a premium diesel fuel that is safe for diesel engines without modification.

Heller admits the past couple of years have been brutal for the biodiesel industry. “I know a lot of people have left the business,” he said. “It is the only thing I have done since college—my whole professional career. I have suffered a lot as well, going through things I never thought I would—certainty not as this age. I have stuck with it because it is worth doing, and anything worth doing is hard. I commend all who have stuck with it. We are changing the world.”

Since offering B100 mid-July, Root Fuel landed its first fleet customer demoing B100 in one of its trucks. “If all goes well, he will be moving many more trucks over,” Heller said.

Both of Root Fuel’s stations are at the mouth of the Houston Ship Channel, one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world. The newly revamped Root Fuel station is located at 9505 Wallisville Road, Houston, Texas, 77013. The company’s other, leased location is at 5715 S. Wayside Drive, Houston, Texas, 77087.  

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