High-Octane Conversion

Retailers start new brand engines with VP Racing Fuels concept.

By
Steve Dwyer, CSP Reporter

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“We sell their racing fuels, which is a no-brainer,” says Remington. “I believe they are offering a major brand—it’s just that a lot of people don’t realize it.”

Passion for Power

Remington raves about the wide variety of fuel products and accessories VP touts. He envisions gasoline as more of a destination purchase driven by attributes of high-performance octane quality combined with an opportunity to sell premium additives.

VP has staked its reputation on high-performance fueling. Two new specialty fuels for racing—VP101 and VP102, carrying octane ratings of 101 and 102, respectively—have the highest octane ratings of any street-legal fuel on the market.

It’s all part of what the company calls “madditives” and octane-boost power, which is a nod to company founder Steve Burns, who became known as the “Mad Scientist” based on his “maniacal” passion for making power and winning, according to company marketing materials.

Remington has other retail outlets, including a snowmobile dealership, in which to sell fuels in the portfolio, adding to his economic leverage. “The two big names in racing fuel are Sunoco and VP,” says Remington. “We like the fact that the people who run snowmobiles, personal watercraft and ATVs can visit our stations and use fuel cages [welded cages in which 5-gallon pails of specialized fuels and additives are sold] rather than take vehicles to a dealership.

“It’s like when you promote a car wash at the fuel island; instead, we promote octane boosters or fuel-injector cleaners while they fill up,” he continues. He plans to sell the various additives at the snowmobile dealership as well.

But what Remington calls “game changing” are the terms and conditions of VP’s proprietary credit-card arrangement. According to Alan Cerwick, president of VP Racing Fuels Inc., “We have the lowest credit-card rate terms in the industry, thanks to an alliance with First Data. Credit-card costs are the No. 2 cost for a retail operation. So if you can remove that as a point of confrontation, you are no longer an enemy of the retailer. What you see is what you get. It’s very transparent.”

With the credit-card terms, the company may save $35,000 a year in fees, Remington says.

All Aboard

With a goal mainly to convert but also build 3,000 branded U.S. sites over the next few years, VP Racing Fuels appears to be creating a stir within the c-store realm.

Traditional refiner brands such as Sunoco have been slowly yielding to super-retail brands such as QuikTrip, Sheetz and Wawa. VP is eager to join those ranks. “I consider us the Burger King of the fuel business,” says Cerwick. “We make it like you want it.”

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