I've been doing some more studying of RaceTrac's operations, and I think this topic is long overdue for some dusting off.
RaceTrac has modified the way in which they do business. RaceTrac began adding E85 at any new or remodeled stores at the close of 2013. Looks like their first E85 store was the store on Ferguson in Dallas along with the store in College Park GA, right next to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. However, around this same time, they began adding ethanol-free at some new and remodeled stores as well. So up until just a couple months ago, it was gasoline, diesel, and EITHER E85 OR Ethanol-Free at every pump. And compared to stores up here, RaceTrac stores are HUGE. It is nearly unthinkable to have 18-24 pumps at one station, except for the occasional truck stop that is well outside of densely populated areas. So in the same way that E85 is available at every pump at the stores which carry it, helping to dramatically increase sales, E0 was also available at every pump at stores which carry that. We're not talking at one pump, or at a pump which is either hidden or at the back of the property like what we have up here, but E0 at 24 pumps. From what I've seen, ethanol-free appears to be priced just above premium (93 octane) E10. At this point, I honestly find myself asking, why bother carry E10? Most stores had 87 octane E0 put in, but some RaceTrac/RaceWay stores got 89 or 90 octane E0.
Ethanol_Addict and I have been talking about this, and he brought up a good point. 89 or 90 octane are not very comparable in terms of cost-effectiveness with 87 octane. Many folks would think "well, I don't need 90 octane for my lawn mower or my boat" (so in a way, this is a double edged sword - it could also increase 87 octane E0 stores). But with a higher octane, folks can point to this increased octane as the reason for the increased cost. Now however, with 87 octane, people may be more likely to realize that the lack of ethanol is the reason for the price premium.
But, in September, EA and I found what appeared to be an anomaly. I found a store that had just opened in Naples Florida, which added BOTH E85 and Ethanol-Free. I first asked the attendant if they carried E85. He replied that they do. So I then clarified and asked, "so you guys don't carry ethanol-free" - at which point he told me they carry both - half E85 on one side, and half E0 on the other. I was stunned. I called again later to verify. Ethanol_Addict did the same. Since then, we have had several more stores open which carry both. Honestly, I would rather a store carry both E85 and E0 than just E0. And when you're talking 12 E0 pumps and 12 E85 pumps, that's still more E85 access than almost any store up here would provide. We now have RaceTrac stores which carry both E0 and E85 in Naples, Daytona Beach, Bradenton, and Largo in Florida. Another store is in the works for the city of Wesley Chapel, expected to open soon. In Georgia, we now have two stores with this setup, and we also have two in Louisiana.
To top it off, RaceTrac has actually converted some stores to E85. I can honestly say that I have never heard of a store converting E0 over to E85, especially not a chain of this size. But so far, I have counted three of them. Stores in Sarasota Florida, and Norcross Georgia, have both converted their ethanol-free tanks and pumps over to E85. This to me is huge. This to me means that RaceTrac knows how to make E85 profitable and wants to sell the fuel.
RaceTrac, much like Speedway in their expansion, has brought E85 in these setups (at 18-24 pumps in each station) to states which otherwise didn't have very effective E85 coverage, or had hardly any at all. For example, digging through the topics here on the forums, I found a topic where the poster was wondering when E85 would come to the Bayou State. Now, not only do we have several stations, but we have RaceTrac stores which have it at multiple pumps. I have also found a topic where someone was lamenting the lack of E85 in Louisiana's capitol city.
I am on top of multiple leads, and are checking in on them from time to time.
Here is what I want to know: where the heck were these stores when I went down to Florida for the National Ethanol Conference in 2014?!? (I wouldn't mind going to the one in NOLA in February, but I'm unable to pay for it) RaceTrac has stores in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Orlando, and in Ocala. ALL of these stations would have made that trip immensely easier. In fact, I ran out of fuel right around where the Orlando store was built.
I encourage everyone to check out my RaceTrac spreadsheet, listing every store in the chain, and highlighting stores which have E85 as well as stores which have E0. You can find it by clicking here. In a separate post, I will remunerate the stores which have been added since the last update here.