The Low-Carbon Fuel Consumer
Motivators and Barriers to Adoption in California
White Paper Abstract
As the primary retailer of low-carbon fuels in the State of California, Propel Fuels provides 70 percent of the E85 volume, under the brand name Flex Fuel E85, and 95 percent of public access to renewable diesel, under the brand name Diesel HPR (High Performance Renewable). Propel’s leading market position gives it a unique connection to California’s low-carbon fuel consumer, enabling meaningful research into the motivators and barriers facing the segment.
In 2016, Propel conducted a study of nearly 1,000 low-carbon fuel consumers in California. The study sample represented all consumer segments of the low-carbon fuel market across every major market in the state. These findings are the most thorough insights into low-carbon fuel consumer behavior ever captured, and the first consumer study of renewable diesel in the United States. While the user base for E85 has been established over several years, these results represent early adopters of renewable diesel less than one year into the adoption curve.
Summary of Key Findings
Key research findings include:
· Consumers are extremely loyal to low-carbon fuels, both Flex Fuel E85 and Diesel HPR.
· Loyalty has increased over time, despite fluctuating petroleum-based fuel prices.
· Consumers care about price, and low-carbon fuels today offer greater value than petroleum-based fuels, even during historically low petroleum fuel prices.
· The user base for low-carbon fuels is extremely diverse, representing the socioeconomic demographics of California. Because today’s low-carbon fuels are affordable to mainstream populations and can run in a variety of vehicles, middle- and lower-income individuals can afford to use cleaner energy options.
· Customers want convenience—a low-carbon fuel pump in their neighborhood or on their commute—but they will also travel a great distance for these fuels.
· While convenience is a critical motivator to using low-carbon fuels, it’s also the biggest barrier. The scarcity of low-carbon fueling options is a definite limiter to market growth.
· Today’s renewable diesel and E85 are high-quality fuels that deliver superior engine performance when compared to petroleum-based fuels. They deliver better mileage, higher cetane (diesel)/octane (E85) ratings, longer engine life, and more power and torque.
Propel Fuels Headquarters
1815 19th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811