consumers see E15 marketed similarly to other fuel grades,
they are more likely to use it. When E15 is marketed as
a niche product, consumers are more likely to steer clear
because they think their vehicles cannot use it.
Marketing E15 starts with the name. Consumers said
retailers should use a name similar to other gasoline grades
they purchase, so retailers started calling E15 unleaded 88
or regular 88. The additional 5% ethanol boosts the octane a
minimum of 1.2AKI over regular unleaded 87 with 10% ethanol, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s
Effect of 15% Ethanol Blends on Anti-Knock Index.
By highlighting the values that are important to each
target audience, retailers can tailor the messaging and appeal
to their customers. E15 appeals to environmentally conscious
consumers who seek alternatives for healthier lifestyles.
Retailers that focus on the clean-burning aspect of E15 and
the fuel’s engine bene;ts will see positive consumer responses.
Millennials — the largest demographic with the most
disposable income available to the retail industry — want
healthy, green alternatives. The tagline “engine-smart, earth-kind” conveys bene;ts that are important to millennials.
Busy moms (like me) are an untapped market. Knowing
E15 is safe for the air our children breathe would motivate
many of us to choose E15.
E15 is going mainstream. The number of sites selling E15
is expected to reach 1,900 by the end of 2019.
Growth Energy is working with 13 of the top 20 conve-
nience store chains that offer E15 at more than 1,800 loca-
tions in 31 states. Retail partners that sell E15 include:
Casey’s General Stores
Kwik Trip Inc.
Kum & Go LC
Family Express Corp.
Pump & Pantry
To learn more about marketing unleaded 88, visit the
Growth Energy marketing hub, https://bit.ly/2JYGlxv.
Kristy Moore is a principal scientist at KMoore
Consulting. A technical and regulatory expert
on fuels, Moore serves as an adviser on regu-
latory affairs and global exports initiatives for
ethanol trade association;Growth;Energy. For more information,