A Change in Fueling Solutions Could Revolutionize the Fleet Industry
As a tech-driven, customer-obsessed company, Booster has many directives. But at the center of all our operations sit our core values around sustainability and customer satisfaction. As the transportation sector’s energy transition demands more of fleet managers and drivers, these values become increasingly central to Booster’s goal of bringing adaptable, cost-effective fueling to fleets.
During a recent podcast interview with Biodiesel Magazine’s Anna Simet, I looked back at where Booster began, and where we’re headed as the energy market continues to evolve. As it does, Booster is committed to helping fleets of all sizes, resources and vehicle types access flexible, sustainable energy solutions.
A New Take on Fueling
The idea for Booster came to me at home. When my wife and I were expecting our first baby girl, she asked me to be the ‘Chief Fueling Officer’ for the family. Essentially that means she never wanted to go to a gas station again. They are dirty, inconvenient, often unsafe and are significant contributors to pollution. And yet the majority of the transportation industry and almost all passenger vehicles have no choice but to rely on them.
I knew there had to be a way we could help our communities solve this problem. I wanted to develop a fueling solution that was safer, sustainable and cost-effective. Over time, we honed our vision to really focus on the fleet industry, especially as the boom of last-mile delivery has accelerated the need for sustainable solutions in fleet transportation.
As I discussed with Simet, there has long been an industry that has delivered conventional diesel fuels to large vehicles. But I wanted to take a more modern approach, one that targets the market of smaller, everyday vehicles like delivery van fleets, ambulances and school buses — the vehicles that really enable the backbone services of our communities. These vehicles had for too long had no option beyond the gas station, and I knew I could create a tech-forward solution. The vision was to bring simplicity to the work lives of those drivers and fleet managers by offering delivery of various fuels and energy types along with data-driven efficiency insights to really bring these fleets into the sustainable future we are all working toward.
Thus, our mission was born: bring mobile energy to the world, meeting fleets where they are to take them where they are going.
Sustainability Through Flexible, Reliable Fueling
As idealistic as we might all be about the altruism behind sustainability and decarbonization initiatives, we must recognize that business decisions are rarely simple, and must be made with the bottom line as a top priority. Often, the need to make money obscures desires for sustainability because, in reality, a company can’t do anything — let alone drive positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) change — if they can’t stay in business.
At Booster, we are committed to making sustainability work for fleets, not the other way around. That is why we center the customer’s needs at every turn, working tirelessly to ensure that with our service, sustainability is the easy, cost-effective option. It really sits at the heart of our business objectives; we want our customers to derive value from our service across the multiple objectives of efficiency, sustainability, and cost-savings.
In short, our mobile energy delivery service provides customers with a range of fuels delivered directly to their fleets. We work with customers to decide what fuels they want, how much they need, and where they need them. Then our dedicated service professionals come to their fleet yard and fuel the vehicles during non-operating hours, so every driver can start their day with a full tank, ready to go.
The labor shortage is real, cost of labor is high and anything fleets can do to maximize paid driver hours is crucial to sustained success. By utilizing mobile fueling, fleet managers save the time and labor costs they would spend on drivers’ individual gas station trips, freeing up that time for execution of business objectives, like package delivery.
Driving Adoption of Renewable Fuels: Education and Access
Meeting fleets where they are now means jumping in at a time which, for many fleets, is volatile. Sustainability is a major focus, but a tight economy facing a driver shortage means decisions around ESG are fraught with compromise. They don’t have to be. Not all sustainability solutions are time- and capital-intensive; renewable fuels can decarbonize quickly on a budget. They just needed to be available and well-known.
We quickly recognized the gap between renewable fuel production and consumption: there are plenty of renewable fuels being produced, but few traditional fueling stations offer them to customers. Given the increasing number of government incentives aimed at stimulating production and adoption, and the market-wide push for sustainability, this will be a huge market for ICE fleets to decarbonize while they electrify and integrate other zero-emission vehicles. But to drive this change forward, fleets need education and access. That’s where we come in.
There has been a lot of misinformation about renewable fuels around their efficacy and cost, but these fuels have come a long way in recent years. Many of these fuels perform better than traditional fuels, and with current production scale and incentives, they can even be offered at price parity with their conventional counterparts. To bridge the gap between perception and reality, education is the first step.
We take a two pronged approach to driving the adoption of sustainable alternative fuels. One prong focuses on getting the word out there, educating our customers and really encouraging them to adopt these lower-carbon alternatives. The other focuses on making these sustainable alternative fuels not just accessible, but the more convenient choice through our mobile energy delivery service.
As I explained to Simet, this model offers an incredible opportunity to convert fleets overnight from conventional fuels to renewables through direct delivery of fuels not offered by most gas stations. Because many of these fuels — like renewable diesel — are drop-in replacements, they are fully fungible with their traditional counterparts and can even mix with them. You don't have to perform any modifications on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles for these fuels to work, and they’re often cleaner from an emissions perspective.
We’ve done these overnight conversions with many customers and found great success. As of September 2022, we have converted nearly all our California-based diesel fleets to a renewable diesel and biodiesel blend offered by Chevron Renewable Energy Group, which offers significantly lower emissions than traditional diesel.
Fleet Fueling Across the Energy Transition
Booster aims to work with fleets of all sizes to ease their journey across their unique energy transitions. A local landscaping fleet will decarbonize in a vastly different way than an Amazon delivery fleet, for example, and we want to be the adaptable solution for all of them. That is why reliability and flexibility over the long-term are really at the forefront of our business. We believe in flexible, modular energy as a complement to conventional infrastructure for fleet decarbonization. This means we are looking at creating mobile energy solutions of all types, including electricity, hydrogen, and renewable fuels.
As always, our customers come first. Our business began with the customer in mind, on the goal of offloading the undesirable task of fueling from drivers’ to do lists to make their lives easier and more efficient. Across the ongoing energy transition, and throughout any market shifts and changes it may bring, we will continue to center ease and efficiency for our customers, driving a more sustainable future for fleets everywhere.