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WILMINGTON, Del. -- Wawa Inc. and its partners unveiled huge fuel-storage tanks at the Port of Wilmington this week, a sign of chain's growth in the region's gasoline market.
Wawa is leasing 11 new tanks and two older ones from Magellan Midstream Partners, which transports refined products through terminals in 22 states, according to The News Journal. Ten of the tanks will hold gasoline, three will store ethanol. Together, they store more than 1 million barrels of fuel.
Wawa is working with Chevron to import most of the gasoline, already refined, from the United Kingdom. The retailer pulls trucks up to the site, where workers blend the gas and ethanol as they load the trucks, creating E10.
Wawa operates 262 stores selling gasoline in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. Approximately 60 stores will be initially supplied by the tanks, Howard Stoeckel, president and CEO of Wawa, told the newspaper.
In the past, Wawa supplied its gas stations via Sunoco and Valero refineries in Delaware, as well as piped in gasoline from other areas. But the executive team was looking for a more steady, predictable supply option.
Wawa will continue to use sources other than Chevron, but "this is what we call the hub of our distribution network," Jim Bluebello, vice president for supply chain, told the newspaper. "The only way you can be profitable in a business is if you can control your supply."
Wawa has an option to fill up to 20 percent of the tanks' capacity from suppliers other than Chevron.
Bluebello said Wawa needed to create the blends to satisfy federal laws but acknowledged the political back-and-forth over whether using corn to create ethanol is the best use of the crops.
"The debate still rages," he said.
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