Propel opens new fueling location, offers drivers free biofuels

By Erin Voegele | May 23, 2011

Renewable fuel retailer Propel Inc. announced the opening of a new fueling location in Redwood City, Calif. The station, which is co-located with a Valero station on Whipple Avenue, supplies both biodiesel and E85. As part of the opening celebration, Propel provided Redwood City drivers and fleets $10 of free biodiesel or E85. The promotion ran through Friday May 20.

According to Propel, the free fuel promotion encourages local drivers to experience filling with clean, quality certified, renewable fuels. “We think the most important thing we can do is help first-time buyers get over the hurdles of trying the fuel[s], because we believe once they try it and realize what a great fuel it is and the benefits of using it, they’ll want to be our customers long-term,” said Propel CEO Matt Horton.

The new location is the 24th Clean Fuel Point station that propel has opened to date. More than 75 sites are planned for development across California over the next year. According to Horton, those sites will all feature biodiesel in addition to E85.

Information released by Propel notes that soaring gas prices have increased consumer demand for Propel’s renewable fuels, with sales up across all of the company’s California locations. Horton added that increased demand has been seen for both biodiesel and E85 products. “The pricing of biodiesel has obviously gotten more competitive with diesel, which is great,” he said. “That has really helped spark some consumer interest…One thing we notice is that when fuel prices are in the news, prices are high, and consumers are upset about it, it really is good for the renewable fuels business because it makes people stop and think about what they are putting in their tanks. People recognize that we have a real problem in this country with our dependence on petroleum and they stop and think about what they are doing. It provides good incentive for them to switch over to a renewable fuel product.”

That said, Horton also noted that more work needs to be done to inform drivers of diesel vehicles that they can use biodiesel-blended fuel. “We still have a big job of education to do,” he said. “Even when diesel prices get extremely high and biodiesel is significantly less than regular diesel, we still see a lot of customers with diesel vehicles that will still drive right past the biodiesel pump and go to a diesel pump. Usually it’s because they don’t know that they can use biodiesel in their diesel vehicle.”


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