The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announced the first few in a series of short fuel marketer-focused videos on the flexfuelforward.com website this week, along with a broader digital advertising campaign to help fuel retailers understand and navigate the application process for United States Department of Agriculture’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). The series is hosted by ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, who, as a former convenience store owner, operator and supplier himself, breaks down the application process with Tony Crooks and Kelly Bogle of the USDA office running the HBIIP program, to create content tailored for retailers and giving them the best chance at being awarded a grant.
“The HBIIP application can look pretty daunting to busy operators of single c-stores and small chains that don’t have departments or staff to handle this sort of thing. Retailers need to know they can complete the application process themselves, with a little help from us when they need it.” Lamberty said. “The goal of this video series is to break the HBIIP application into bite-sized pieces, so marketers can finish it off a little at a time.”
“Marketers trust the experience and opinions of other marketers, and when they come to the flexfuelforward.com site, they can hear from station owners who have already ‘been there and done that’ when it comes to higher ethanol blends,” Lamberty added. “Now, if they act quickly enough, retailers who have been thinking about offering higher ethanol blends can get up to half the cost of conversion paid for by USDA.”
Throughout the month of July, leading up to the August 13 application deadline, retailers will be directed to the flexfuelforward.com HBIIP resources through paid advertising on social media and in print and online convenience store industry publications and websites. A sampling of the digital ads can be found here.
Following the HBIIP push, the campaign focus will turn to E15 station conversions.
“Moving significant new ethanol volume in the fastest and least expensive way possible is about conversion, not construction,” Lamberty explained. “So many retailers already have E15 compatible equipment but have been convinced otherwise. We’re excited about tools we’ll soon be adding to flexfuelforward.com, which will help station owners verify the ethanol compatibility level of equipment they already have on site.”
Retailers interested in more information about participating in USDA’s HBIIP, E15 and flex fuels, ethanol marketing and promotion, infrastructure, or logistics can contact Lamberty at ACE.