Biodiesel Gave Jobber 'Huge Competitive Advantage'

Broadus Oil and its customers benefit from price, performance and sustainability of biodiesel.

Fuel marketer Broadus Oil Corporation of Illinois started offering biodiesel in 2005, before many of its fellow jobbers. That turned out to be a smart decision. “It was a huge competitive advantage for us,” owner Steve Broadus says. Given biodiesel’s growing popularity, there’s more competition in the marketplace today; but Broadus says the alternative fuel continues to be a boon to his business. Customers want biodiesel because it’s a homegrown, environmentally friendly fuel that in some cases outperforms petroleum diesel, and often at a better price. “It’s a very dependable product,” he says. “I have no qualms. None at all.”

Established company turns to biodiesel.

Broadus Oil has deep roots in the fuel industry. The company began in 1955, when Broadus’ father opened a service station in a small town about 90 miles southwest of Chicago. The company soon made a short move to Streator, where it is still based, and over the years got involved in the fuel delivery, convenience store and lubricants businesses. Steve Broadus took over for his father in 2005, and since then Broadus Oil’s focus has been a direct wholesaler to other jobbers, fleets, mining operations and farm co-ops. The company operates primarily within 150 miles of its home base and offers a full slate of fuel, including biodiesel blends ranging from B2 through B20, and B100. Biodiesel initially appealed to Broadus because it was made in the U.S., offered a cost advantage and helped him attract new customers. It was also environmentally friendly at a time sustainability was still new to the fuel industry. “We always thought of ourselves as looking for the next new thing and liked to be at the forefront,” Broadus says.

Partnering with industry leader.

Broadus acknowledges there were some questions from customers in the early days on things like performance and cold weather usage. Biodiesel quickly proved itself. “Our customers say they see no difference in fuel economy,” he says. “Some of them say they think its cetane is even a little better. They seem to get a little more performance.” Broadus Oil gets biodiesel from REG. “REG has been the leader in the industry and seemed to make the largest investment when it came to finding ways to make the product more viable,” Broadus says. “And they’re right in our backyard with a refinery only 20 miles away.”

Price is right.

These benefits wouldn’t amount to much if the price wasn’t right, but it is right for Broadus Oil and its customers. Biodiesel blends of 11 percent and higher are exempt from Illinois’ 6.25 percent sales tax. “In the past year, the cost savings have been in excess of a dime per gallon, and we’ve seen savings go as high as 26 cents,” Broadus says. It’s not just about incentives, though. Sometimes biodiesel is a better deal than petroleum diesel. Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) attached to biodiesel have economic value. And Broadus believes biodiesel can help jobbers, fleets and others once the price of oil inevitably climbs. “They see the advantages of it and they like the idea of energy independence,” he says.

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