Propel Fuels, PC&F to expand retail station network in Western US

By Bryan Sims | August 24, 2011

Redwood City, Calif.-based fuel retailer Propel Fuels signed a multi-year partnership with Pacific Convenience and Fuels to co-locate Propel’s network of green-built, self-serve filling stations—called Clean Fuel Points—with PC&F gas stations and convenience stores throughout the Western U.S. Propel and PC&F have identified more than 80 potential locations for Clean Fuel Points throughout PC&F’s network of 300 stations in California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which operate under various brands including Chevron, 76, Conoco and Circle K.

Propel’s partnership with PC&F is expected to provide consumer and fleet vehicles across the Western states with greater access to biodiesel and other renewable fuels and enable both companies to accelerate their respective expansion plans, according to Propel CEO Matt Horton.

“We plan to deliver biodiesel at every one of these sites,” Horton told Biodiesel Magazine, adding that blend levels will vary depending on customer demand in each market. “Biodiesel is a core part of all the stations we develop.”

Propel currently operates Clean Fuel Point stations throughout California and Washington with more than 200 sites planned for new and existing markets over the next two years. Propel sells varying blends of biodiesel at all 26 of its retail locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, with the majority offering B5, a growing number now offering B20 and a few that carry B99.

Horton didn’t specify which state(s) would see the first of Propel and PC&F stations, but stated that work on initial stations is currently underway.

“We currently have a large number of stations under contract and, since this is a brand new relationship, it will take a bit of time to move those projects through permitting and to actually be building them, but we’re getting to work on them right away,” he said.

Although Horton doesn’t expect that the build-out of initial retail stations will occur in any one particular state, he said that California will continue to be an area of focus.

“We have had a very tight focus on the California market because it’s the most underserved market in the country,” Horton said. “With this relationship [with PC&F] we will continue that focus but, more importantly, it gives us access to stations in other states.”

To accelerate public access to renewable fuels, Propel is working in coordination with the U.S. DOE and the California Energy Commission on station development programs such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure Investment Initiative. As advanced biofuel production facilities break ground in California, Propel’s agreement with PC&F will provide the next phase of fueling locations crucial to meeting the goals of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

As for potentially additional partnerships on the horizon for Propel to expand its network, Horton said his company is always open to such agreements that will provide greater access to diesel fuel consumers and users of other renewable fuels.

“We’re continuing to talk with a number of forward-looking station partners…people who recognize that the future of fuels will be changing and that biodiesel and ethanol and other renewable fuels will become a more important part of the fueling infrastructure,” Horton said.


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