Cleantech Award WinnerSan Francisco Business Times | June 17th, 2011
Propel Fuels is putting biodiesel and ethanol on the fuel-pump map – reducing carbon emissions while putting Central Valley farmers to work in the process.
The Redwood City company operates 24 “clean fuel point” stations between Seattle and Southern California and plans to open 50 more over the next year,
Amid soaring gasoline prices, the company has seen its sales of E85 Ethanol – which costs 50 to 70 cents less per gallon than gas – nearly triple across California this year. Propel has overcome such challenges as a lengthy permitting process to install new fueling infrastructure and unstable federal tax incentives. In addition, many drivers are unaware that their cars can already take Flex Fuel or biodiesel.
“Our real competition is the status quo,” says CEOÂ Matt Horton, who upholds a mission “to finally give consumers a choice at the pump.”
With seven green pump stations in the Bay Area alone, Propel is the only West Coast company to retail renewable fuels on such a commercial scale. It also runs an emissions reduction tracking platform that allows its “CleanDrive” customers to monitor their CO2 savings online.
The company has saved drivers more than 1.2 million gallons of oil and 17 million pounds of carbon emissions; and once Ford, GM and Chrysler fulfill their goal of releasing Flexfuel-compatible vehicles in half their fleets by 2012, those numbers could skyrocket. More than 1 million Flexfuel vehicles are already on the road in California, and 10 million across the nation.
“The opportunity in California is so strong and the consumer demand is so big,” Horton says.