Some businesses seek to carry biodiesel so that they can be more sustainable or because they wish to serve the growing local fuel economy. At the Gas-Up, an independent convenience store in the center of West Asheville, biodiesel supporters approached Tammy, store owner, about supplying the sustainable alternative. Through a partnership between Blue Ridge Biofuels and the Gas-Up, a disused kerosene pump was replaced with a new fuel dispenser and became the first public biodiesel pump in Western North Carolina.
As an independent store-owner, Tammy tries to be responsive to customer requests whenever possible. “If youcame in and said, ‘I just moved to the neighborhood, and this is my favorite beer,’ and if we could get it, we would” she says. So when customers began asking if she had ever considered selling biodiesel, she began to do some research. However, the fuel company that she purchased gasoline from did not think it was a feasible product at the time.
Blue Ridge Biofuels meanwhile was looking for a station that would be willing to host the region’s first public pump so that more people and businesses could have access to local, sustainable fuel. Serendipity brought the two companies together: an employee at Blue Ridge Biofuels was also a regular customer at the Gas-Up for their extensive, ever-expanding selection of microbrews. Through grant funding, the kerosene pump was refurbished and began serving B100 biodiesel in 2005. The pump at the Gas-Up was the first publicly-accessible high-blend biodiesel pump on the east coast. Then and now, the Gas-Up sells the highest blend of biodiesel available depending on the time of year.
The Gas-Up continues to be our neighborhood B100 biodiesel pump for sustainably-minded drivers in the Asheville area. Loyal biodiesel customers continue to visit Tammy and her staff to get their fuel of choice and bringing biodiesel to Asheville drivers is now a core part of the Gas-Up’s services, making up about half of all fuel sales. “It’s worked out really well … we already knew there was a market for it,” says Tammy. The local fuel economy has grown as a result: more and more station owners now believe biodiesel to be a viable alternative fuel and are installing pumps of their own, inspired by Tammy and the Gas-Up’s success.
Look for our ad featuring the Gas-Up in the Mountain Xpress in July.
By Dan Pungello, UNCA student and BRB Summer Intern.