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Showing posts from July, 2018

Independent Retailer Highlight: Severson's in Winona

We began this month focusing on an independent auto service and fuel retailer from the metro area to celebrate National Independent Retailer Month. For this week’s featured retailer, we caught up with Josh Severson of Severson Oil out of Winona, Minnesota.

Severson's first decided to add E15 and E85 to their product offerings in 2016.  Beginning with just the one station, they wanted to see how it performed and how customers responded. Josh stated, “We saw it as a product that would help us stay competitive in our marketplace while simultaneously providing our customers with lower cost, cleaner options. Our customers seem to like having the other options.” He added that the E15 blend in particular has grown in popularity at his stations. Severson Oil has just recently completed another station upgrade this past spring and now have two locations offering the renewable E85 and cleaner-burning E15 options.

Josh says, “A lot of our success comes from all of the great co-workers we hav…

On The Track Or At Your Corner Station, Ethanol Fuels Offer High Octane Performance

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In the auto racing world, ethanol fuels have become widely accepted as one of the best ways to get optimum performance on the track. NASCAR has been using E15 for several years and Indy-style racers use E85. Ethanol is also a popular choice for racers on the small tracks, both paved and dirt, which can be found throughout rural Minnesota.

Fiesta Speedway, at the Chippewa County Fairgrounds in Montevideo, and Viking Speedway, located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Alexandria, are both good examples. The tracks host events featuring a number of classes of race cars:  WISSOTA Late Models, WISSOTA Modifieds, WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Super Stocks, and Pure Stocks.

Local corn and soybean growers from Chippewa county will be gathering at the Fiesta Speedway on
Friday, July 20 for a special "Jam the Stands" evening at the races. Similarly, Douglas, Pope, Todd and Stearns counties will join together at Viking Speedway on Saturday, July 28 for their “…

Where Every Customer is a VIP

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July is National Independent Retailer Month, so for the next couple weeks we will highlight a couple independent retailers in our state offering the renewable and locally produced ethanol fuels.

One member of the family of ethanol retailers in Minnesota is VIP Auto in Plymouth. The current owner-operator of the station, Chris Robbins, shared some insight with us about his experience as an independent retailer in the Plymouth community.

His opportunity to be in the auto service and fuel industry started with his grandfather, Jerry, who began the family’s journey as independent business owners in 1959. Chris, now a third-generation operator, is thankful for the continued partnership and support he has that comes from nearly 60 years of family experience in the industry. He states, “Basically growing up in gas station, I’ve been amazed to see the advances in technology. As a business and as a family our philosophy has always been ‘How can we make things better?’ When ethanol fuels came t…

Fueling Better in Minnesota, Thanks to POET

You see ethanol blend fuels all across Minnesota, but have you ever wondered where the ethanol is produced? In this post, we’ll look at one major ethanol producer in our state: POET Biorefining.

POET has grown from a single refinery in South Dakota to become one of the largest producers of ethanol fuel in the world with more than twenty-five plants across seven different states. Four of those POET plants are in Minnesota: one in Albert Lea (Glenville), in Bingham Lake, in Lake Crystal, and in Preston. These four Minnesota facilities have a combined output of approximately 179 million gallons of ethanol fuel every year.

The POET plants also produce other useful products such as dried distiller’s grains and corn oil (sold under the VoilĂ  brand name). Many Minnesotan ethanol plants are now recovering corn oil, which is used to make biodiesel. So the facilities are now producing two renewable fuels and a highly marketable protein-packed animal feed, all from the same bushel of corn that w…

Knee High by the Fourth of July

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An ear of corn would likely make anybody’s list of top American summertime icons.  Whether its popcorn, sweet corn, or modern field corn and endless green Midwestern cornfields, it could be argued that nothing is as American as…well…corn. Today, field corn is used in thousands of products ranging from toothpaste, livestock feed, and crayons to biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and even the fireworks we see at Independence Day celebrations.

As a kid, you may have heard, “Corn must be knee high by the Fourth of July.”  A cute rhyme, but that old adage is only a quaint reminder of what lead to a good crop of 150 years ago. The field corn of today will blow past ‘knee high’ long before July, while maturing into mighty 12- to 16-foot stalks to be harvested next fall.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture began gathering data in 1866, corn yield was about 26 bushels per acre. And that was pretty typical for the next seven decades (see USDA chart).

By the late 1930s corn double-cross hybrids were…