Little Duke’s Ethanol Sale
Coborn’s promotes biofuel blends, considering additional pumps at its c-stores
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Coborn’s Inc. held a special price promotion on ethanol blends the week of Nov. 9 at six of its Little Dukes convenience stores in Minnesota.
The company offered E15, E30 and E85 for a discounted price at a St. Cloud, Minn., Little Dukes on Nov. 13 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Local officials, corn farmers and ethanol proponents gave a presentation at the store, reported The St. Cloud Times.
It discounted E85 by 85 cents per gallon (CPG), and it priced E30 at 30 CPG lower and E15 at a 15-CPG savings.
Rebecca Kurowski, communications manager at Coborn’s, told the newspaper that the retailer has offered E85 “for quite some time,” and began offering the mid-level blends after installing blender pumps at Little Dukes sites in St. Cloud, Hastings, Belle Plaine, New Prague, Princeton and Pipeston, Minn., this past summer.
“They are very busy locations,” Kurowski said. “They have lots of guests coming through and we want to make this available to a large population.”
She added that E15 and E30 sales are growing as consumers become aware of the offer. Only flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) can use E30 and E85, while vehicle models 2001 and newer have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use E15.
“It’s the green thing to do,” said Kurowski. “It burns cleaner, there is less pollution and our guests save money.”
According to Adam Czech, public relations manager at the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), midlevel ethanol blends can offer savings of 10 to 60 CPG compared to regular E10, with the greatest discounts on E85. A coalition of groups including the MCGA, American Lung Association in Minnesota, Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and ethanol producers have helped fund the installation of 120 blender pumps at around 40 sites in the last two years, the report said.
This figure should grow as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced matching grants toward the installation of more than 600 flex-fuel pumps at 165 Minnesota retailers in the coming year. Most of these will end up in population centers, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, said Czech.
Coborn’s is considering adding additional blender pumps to its remaining Little Dukes sites in Minnesota and the Dakotas with help of the USDA grants, Kurowski said. The retailer also is a franchise owner of 15 Holiday stations, but is not currently adding midlevel blends to these sites.
St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s is a diversified, employee-owned enterprise operating 54 grocery stores in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin under the Coborn’s, Cash Wise Foods and Save-A-Lot banners. It also operates 19 Little Dukes and 15 Holiday convenience stores, along with video stores, liquor stores and pharmacies. Coborn’s also owns and operates a central bakery, central dry cleaning facility, grocery warehouse and distribution center and online grocery delivery service.