Petroleum Wholesale Gains a Competitive Edge with Biodiesel

By adding diversity to its fuel offerings, the company benefits from tax incentives, price advantages and better supply management.

In 2013, John Cook, president and CEO of Petroleum Wholesale, which includes Sunmart convenience stores, brought diversity to the company’s fuel offerings when it started offering biodiesel.

“Basically, all of our competitors started bringing it in. So it didn’t take us long to realize we needed to get into it to stay competitive,” Cook says.

Today, 95 percent of Petroleum Wholesale’s locations offer biodiesel. Stores start at a B10 blend, move up to B15 a couple of months later, and then B20 a couple months after that. And the company has heard no complaints from customers. 

“There’s no downside to biodiesel, and a lot of advantages to it,” Cook says. The benefits include state incentives such as an exemption from the diesel fuel tax, price advantages over traditional diesel, the easing of some supply issues, biodiesel being a renewable fuel and its clean-burning properties.

Choosing a supplier to keep up with the company's growing demand.

A concern before Petroleum Wholesale began offering biodiesel was availability because of the limited number of production facilities in the biodiesel industry.

Petroleum Wholesale partnered with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG), which has biorefineries and terminals throughout the U.S. Cook believes it’s best to do business with the largest suppliers, and REG being one of the biggest producers of biomass-based diesel in North America means it can offer a stable supply and competitive pricing. Cook says REG provides high-quality biodiesel and getting fuel from REG has never been a problem.

Cook’s satisfaction with REG is about more than the biodiesel the company supplies, however. He says REG employees consistently go above and beyond in helping Petroleum Wholesale improve its business. One example, he says, is the numerous times his company has been under contract for a certain number of gallons of biodiesel for a month, and toward the end of the month, they ask for more.

“REG has accommodated us in every instance,” Cook says.

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