IDALS Recognizes Top Renewable Fuel Marketers

New award goes to two Iowa firms, honoring their efforts to promote and sell ethanol and biodiesel.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced last week that Kum & Go of West Des Moines and Cobb Oil Co. of Brighton are the first two winners of the Iowa Department of Agriculture's new Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards. The awards were created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to recognize fuel marketers that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to sell renewable fuels.

"Distributors and retailers are the connection between the Iowa renewable fuels industry and the customer," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "Both Kum & Go and Cobb Oil Company have gone to great lengths to promote both ethanol and biodiesel, and these awards are an opportunity to recognize them for their efforts."

The secretary's Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards are recognize firms that market the renewable fuels they have available through creative efforts including, but not limited to hosting special events highlighting their renewable fuels, development of creative signage, initiation of new advertisements or marketing efforts, and dramatically increasing pump availability.

The winners were recognized during the Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa Annual Meeting in Des Moines on Feb. 6, 2008. The Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa is a nonprofit state trade association serving the needs of independent petroleum marketers and convenience store owners throughout Iowa.

Ethanol marketing award to Kum & Go

Kyle Krause of Kum & Go is the winner of the 2008 Secretary's Ethanol Marketing Award. As president and CEO of Kum & Go, Kyle Krause has made his family-owned company a cutting-edge innovator in the delivery of alternative fuel choices. Kum & Go was one of the first convenient store chains in the nation to offer a 10% ethanol blend and since 1997 Kum & Go has offered E85, a fuel mixture of about 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Kum & Go's total reduction of fossil fuel dependency was more than 18 million gallons from ethanol in 2007. The company currently offers 25 E85 fueling sites nationwide, including 15 in Iowa, which is the most of any company. And those numbers continue to grow, with two new Kum & Go E85 locations scheduled to open in the next two weeks.

Besides offering ethanol and E85 at its stores, under Krause's leadership Kum & Go has gone to great lengths to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable fuels. Last summer Kum & Go gave away three Flex-Fuel Chevy Impalas that can run on E85, more than $20,000 in ethanol gas and $15,000 worth of stock in VeraSun Energy, one of the largest producers of ethanol in the United States.

Biodiesel marketing award to Cobb

Mark and Laurie Cobb of Cobb Oil Company are winners of the 2008 Secretary's Biodiesel Marketing Award. Cobb Oil currently offers biodiesel blends at four of their retail outlets and, as a result, has sold several million gallons of bioblended diesel in the past 18 months. Also, by competitively pricing the bulk biodiesel, they have effectively encouraged its use by their farm customers.

Mark Cobb is also currently the board vice chairman of Iowa Renewable Energy, a 30-million-gallon-per-year biodiesel plan in Washington, Iowa. In addition, he is serving as the company representative on the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

Besides selling biodiesel, Cobb Oil uses it extensively. Every fuel truck that Cobb Oil has uses biodiesel. The company has also used funds from the Iowa Department of Economic Development's program to help Cobb's associate dealers and distributors market and promote biodiesel by installing a heated storage tank and using an insulated fuel trailer.

Renewable fuels industry overview

According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa has 28 ethanol refineries with the capacity to produce over 2 billion gallons annually. Iowa only uses approximately 1.6 billion gallons of gasoline annually, which makes the state a net exporter of gasoline product, without pumping a single gallon of oil from the ground.

In addition, Iowa has 16 biodiesel refineries with a combined annual capacity of over 350 million gallons either in operation or under construction.

"Iowa is truly the national leader in renewable fuels, and that would not be possible without support from retailers across the state who market these home-grown fuels," says Northey. Nomination forms for the 2009 award are on the Iowa Department of Agriculture's Web site at or can be mailed to you if you call 515-281-8606 or write to IDALS, Henry A. Wallace Building, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines IA 50319.

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