Tips From a Truck Stop Located in a ‘Major Hub for Trucking’

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/// Guest post by contributor Jon ScharingsonRenewable Energy Group

If you could pick an ideal location for a truck stop, you’d have a hard time doing better than Fontana, California's Fontana Truck Stop Center.

It’s in an industrial area full of distribution centers, manufacturers and equipment dealerships. And it’s near the intersection of two interstates that funnel traffic to and from Los Angeles, which is about 40 miles to the west.

“Fontana is a major hub for trucking,” says truckstop co-owner Lonnie Tabbaa. “You have all the big industries here. And we service all the major fleets and the smaller ones, both local and out-of-state drivers.”

That it’s a great location is not a secret, however, and the fierce competition for drivers means success is not guaranteed for Fontana Truck Stop Center.

So how does it differentiate itself?  One way is by offering renewable fuels, including biodiesel blends and a blend of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel (RHD).

“The sustainability trend is very important to us,” Tabbaa says. “A lot of fleets are sending their trucks to places that have cleaner-burning fuels. Also, we see better margins with renewable fuels than regular diesel fuel. They’re good for business.”

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The biodiesel advantage
Sustainability comes into play a couple of different ways. First, the state of California is a global leader in carbon-cutting policies, such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

Also, as fleets everywhere know, companies and governments throughout North America are increasingly adopting sustainability plans that aim to reduce their carbon footprints, including by lowering their petroleum diesel consumption.

Fontana Truck Stop Center began selling biodiesel blends in 2015, starting at a B5 blend before quickly moving up to B20.

“Biodiesel is better for the environment than regular diesel,” says Abdul Mardini, the truckstop’s general manager. “It also gives us an advantage on the price we pay for fuel. At the same time, we can offer it to the drivers at a lower price. And it gives us an advantage on the truckstops that don’t use it.”

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New blend draws interest
In 2017, Fontana Truck Stop Center began offering renewable hydrocarbon diesel for similar reasons: sustainability and economics. Then REG, which they buy fuel from, made them aware that blending biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel was an option. The blended product features many of the best attributes of the individual fuels:

  • Superior emissions reductions.
  • Excellent Cetane and lubricity, and lower aromatics and Cloud Point.
  • Easy handling and storage.
  • Allows companies to stretch their supply of RHD.

“The economics have been better for us and for drivers, we’ve heard no complaints about performance and it’s good for the environment,” Mardini says. “Also, there’s a lot of demand for RHD in California. By blending it with 20 percent biodiesel, we can expand our supplies of RHD.”

Renewables attract customers
Renewable fuels have done more for Fontana Truck Stop Center than drive business to the pumps. By attracting drivers to the truckstop, they’ve also given a boost to other services, such as in-store food sales, a detail center and a truck wash.

“I’ve told many friends of mine, as well as competitors who have truckstops, that renewable fuels are a good thing to have,” Tabbaa says. “It’s clean for the environment, you can make a better margin on the fuels, and the drivers are fine with it. There are no issues.”

Want to learn what biodiesel, RHD or an RHD and biodiesel blend could do for your locations? Contact me at jon.scharingson@regi.com

 /// Read more guest posts on biodiesel posts here

Photos credit: Renewable Energy Group

{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Chairman's Circle member Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group. REG is a leading North American advanced biofuels producer and developer of renewable chemicals. REG utilizes a nationwide production, distribution and logistics system as part of an integrated value chain model to focus on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels and converting diverse feedstocks into renewable chemicals. Learn more about Renewable Energy Group.

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.



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