Retailers Reveal: Blender Pumps are Easy

BRUCE VOLLAN: MIDWAY SERVICE, BALTIC, SOUTH DAKOTA

CHARLIE GOOD: GOOD & QUICK, NEVADA, IOWA

JT CELANI: DAVIS AIRTECH, CONYERS, GEORGIA

Vollan: “We spent $18,000 per dispenser on our blenders, versus a standard issue pump that was around $12,000, so the difference was about $6,000 per dispenser,” said Vollan. “We have two, so it was an extra $12,000.”

Good: “My original estimate was $153,000 for my project. With the blender pump and the new tank and lines to handle it, it was $247,000. I found that I could get $100,000 from the renewable fuels people - $50,000 for the ethanol and $50,000 for the biodiesel. And then I found out I could get back up to 25 percent of the unfunded project back through the Rural Iowa Development Fund. So I went ahead and applied for that, and I held off, because you can’t break ground until they score it and award it. The total project, because we ran into a few problems, was $279,000, and out of that I got $131,650 back, so it actually cost me less, with the help that I got from the renewable fuels people, to offer more to the public.”

[Good also noted that $50,000 of his project was the extension of a 70 foot canopy – an expense he would have had with or without the addition of a blender pump.]

Vollan: “A new pump costs $15,000 right now,” said Vollan. “But there are cheaper options out there. The old UL spec said it tested E10 equipment for handling up to E15. That’s why deciding to add E15 is a no-brainer. It’s a way to set yourself apart from the competition and it doesn’t cost that much. It will bring people to your store.”

Celani: “OEMs are only producing current generation models for flex fuel,” said J.T. Celani, president of Davis Airtech. “What we are able to do is to take some of the older generation meters and make them E85 compatible. So people who have existing equipment have an option to move into flex fuels without having to buy all new equipment. The nickel plated meters can all be bought from us by my distributors for less than $1,000, so assuming a bit of a markup, the end use is probably going to see about $1,000 per meter.”

Vollan: “Just what they need to hear from me is how simple it is, how easily these things can work. I’m just a simple small town man; if I can implement blender pumps, sell E15 and other blends, [then others can] give the consumer the choice and see the reaction. We’ve seen there’s absolutely no reason in the world, why stations all across the country couldn’t do exactly what we do and get similar responses.”

Celani: 'You can go to the OEMs, Wayne and Gilbarco, and buy flex-fuel dispensers, but our approach is to take the existing equipment and upgrade it at a much greater savings. We have approached a number of people who were on the fence about selling E85 not knowing whether it was a viable option for them, and we said to them, before you go out and spend $20,000 on a dispenser, to try to find whether this is going to be a product that’s good for you, buy our equipment and put it into your existing dispensers. If the market is good for you and you decide you want to upgrade to a new dispenser, fabulous. If it doesn’t work out for you, you are only out the cost of a few components.”

 

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