Future Valero stations will sell a variety of fuels

Valero Energy Corp. is planning for the gasoline station of the future — or perhaps the term should be “fuel station” of the future.

As Valero builds new stores, it will design them to handle alternate fuels, including natural gas as well as E85, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas that it has already added at a few locations.

“In certain markets they’re already consuming natural gas in vehicles,” CEO Bill Klesse said, and the San Antonio-based company will add natural gas pumps in Texas if there is market demand.

Valero already has some stores capable of dispensing natural gas in Colorado. The San Antonio-based refiner and fuels marketer will do the same in Texas “if there is market demand,” he said.

The first Texas Valero station with natural gas dispensers will be built near the company’s headquarters, Klesse said at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting Thursday.

Also, where a Valero station has enough land, it may add electric charging stations “to help people get home.”

But Valero’s chief seemed less enthusiastic about adding charging stations, saying electric power is “problematic.”

The company now sells E85 at five stores in Texas, though none in Houston.

It saves money to plumb Valero stores for alternative fuels as they’re being built rather than modifying stores. To add E85 pump to an existing store costs $100,000, Klesse said.