Fuels Market News 2021 Fuel Leaders

Page 1

SPECIAL ISSUE 2022

2021

FUEL LEADERS Rankings for the Top 50 Fuel Brands in the Convenience Retail Industry


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Keith Reid Editor-in-Chief (847) 630-4760 kreid@fmnweb.com Kim Stewart Editorial Director (703) 518-4279 kstewart@convenience.org Lisa King Managing Editor (703) 518-4281 lking@convenience.org DESIGN Imagination www.imaginepub.com Cover image by BlackJack3D/Getty Images

ADVERTISING Ted Asprooth (847) 222-3006 tasprooth@convenience.org

PUBLISHING Erin Pressley Publisher (703) 518-4208 epressley@convenience.org Rose Johnson Audience Development and Production Manager (703) 518-4218 rjohnson@convenience.org

EDITORIAL COUNCIL RETAILER/MARKETER MEMBERS Josh Asche, senior vice president, COO, Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh; Mark Fitz, president, Star Oilco; Derek Gaskins, chief marketing officer, Yesway; Kevin Smartt, CEO and president, Texas Born (TXB) VENDOR/SUPPLIER MEMBERS Regina Balistreri, director of marketing, ADD Systems; Gary Lackore, director of sales – Americas, MidContinental Chemical Company Inc.; Kaylie Scoles, marketing director, RDM Industrial Electronics Inc.; Jen Threlkeld, product marketing manager, Dover Fueling Solutions Fuels Market News Magazine is published quarterly by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Subscription Requests: circulation@fmnweb.com POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Fuels Market News Magazine, 1600 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314-2792 USA. Contents © 2022 by the National Association of Convenience Stores. Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria, VA, and additional mailing offices.

SPECIAL ISSUE 2022

2021 Fuel Leaders

EDITORIAL

02 Methodology

Behind the 2021 fuel leaders’ rankings.

06

Disorder in the Quarters Why diesel is the most worrisome mainstream product in 2022.

Sets the 2021 Fuel 10 What Leaders Apart?

We look at who excelled in five key areas of success.

18 Fuel Price Volatility A Q&A with EdgePetrol.

20

And the Leader Is…

Wawa comes out on top in the rankings for the second year.

1600 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314-2792 PUBLISHED BY

FuelsMarketNews.com

2021 Fuel Leaders | 1


T

he 2021 Fuel Leaders special issue published by Fuels Market News and NACS is based on data collected by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and drawn from hundreds of retail operations of all sizes throughout the fuel retailing industry. OPIS, a Dow Jones Company, tracks the performance of over 250 fuel retailers and ranks them in an annual report. Through a special partnership with OPIS, NACS is presenting a targeted subset of this data in the second-annual Fuel Leaders special issue of Fuels Market News Magazine. Analysts use the OPIS rack-to-retail margin methodology to estimate the

2 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

gross profit on a gallon of gasoline. While some chains may pay more or less than the posted rack, the OPIS methodology provides a reasonable metric for each chain. OPIS also tracks the market share based on volumes sold on the WEX Universal fleet card. While fleet purchases may vary slightly from how the everyday consumer buys fuel, the analysis shows that they trend closely, and the relative consistency makes it a valid datapoint. As a further enhancement, OPIS partners with Orbital Insight, a company that tracks location information on more than 116 million FuelsMarketNews.com

CHUTARAT SAE-KHOW/GETTY IMAGES

Behind the 2021 Fuel Leaders Rankings


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cellphones in the U.S. through various mobile apps. OPIS geofenced all 130,000 stations (by hand) in the country to track the number of times a device visits a convenience store to provide insight into which sites are seeing the most potential customers. While there may be regional disparities in smartphone usage, the relativity of visits between a site and its direct competitors is unprecedented. These cellphone ping data are used to calculate an alternative market share for each brand. Getting the best estimate on each chain’s volumes starts with the monthly taxable gallon information reported on a state level by government entities. Analysts then apply two market share methodologies to estimate total gallons by calculating each chain’s market share in the state against the total taxable gallons reported each month, and then dividing that number by the count of stations to offer an approximate monthly volume per site. Matching the estimated volumes to the margins shows total profit on gasoline sales and estimated profit per site. Both methodologies are separate but also averaged together to try to flatten any biases in either technique. Taking it all a step further, analysts study the data on a localized level, comparing a chain’s sites to the other sites in the communities in which it operates within a one-mile radius. This information makes it possible to determine each brand’s market share against direct competitors. Researchers also calculate a head-to-head “winning percentage” by examining chain performance against competitors in the same 4 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

community to identify which brand was more efficient. As an example, if “chain A” and “chain B” compete in the same 10 communities, and “chain A” was more efficient (market share divided by outlet share) in eight of those communities, that would indicate that “chain A” had an 80% winning percentage against “chain B.” OPIS ranks each chain in a variety of categories but weights them differently based on conversations with industry insiders on what they felt were the most important metrics. Estimated monthly profit per site is rated the most important category, followed by total overall estimated profits. Other categories ranked include price differential, overall market share, local market share, margins, property values and more. The final overall ranking takes weighted ranking by category into consideration to determine the chains with the best performance. Some chains in the report had thousands of sites with a huge multistate footprint, while others were small single-state operators with just a handful of locations. As OPIS notes, “In summary, this report is our best answer to the question we are so often asked. While we may not be able to tell you with 100% certainty who the most-profitable fuel retailer is, or which convenience store chain or major brand is the strongest, this data-rich report is an excellent relative approximation from which many critical insights can be gleaned.”

Estimated monthly profit per site is rated the most important category, followed by total overall estimated profits.”

The full OPIS report containing highly granular information on each chain is available for purchase from OPIS at www.opisnet.com. FuelsMarketNews.com


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Why diesel is the most worrisome mainstream product in 2022. BY TOM KLOZA

A

lmost all frenzied press coverage of the new “energy crisis” in 2022 has focused on crude oil and gasoline. But from the refinery gate to the tanks of fleets, consumers and homeowners, it’s the middle molecule—diesel—that is most likely to surface as a crisis product and determine the fate of Western economies. With less than 10 days left in the first quarter of 2022, ultra-low sulfur diesel futures (ULSD) saw CME settlements as low as $2.3574 gal (January 3) and as high as $4.4373 gal (March 8). Refiners started 2022 making a respectable $23 barrel over WTI, but diesel returns eventually fetched more than $60 a barrel over the benchmark. Lower participation rates in all futures have accelerated volatility. One week after topping $4.43 a gallon, 6 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

ULSD futures settled at less than $3.03 a gallon, commanding a gross margin of about $30 a barrel over WTI. Notwithstanding this record volatility, U.S. refiners and merchant refiners around the globe will almost certainly be motivated to maximize diesel production, perhaps at the expense of gasoline, for most of 2022. This is a “gap year” for worldwide refiners. North America has seen the closure of about 1.2 million b/d of refining since just before COVID-19 struck. Refineries in California, North Dakota, Wyoming and Newfoundland are among those that have or are being repurposed to make renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Next year will see the commissioning of huge new refineries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and West

Africa. Those refineries were designed to maximize yields of the middle of the refined barrel and will be capable of making large amounts of diesel and jet fuel. But the rest of 2022 and early portions of 2023 will be dependent on existing global capacity, against the backdrop of the most uncertainty for crude oil supply since the 1970s. The big difference in 50 years? Diesel and heating oil during the bellbottom years were often the unwanted byproducts of the refining process six decades ago. Refinery managers could be excused for minimizing production of these high sulfur distillates, which often sold for break-even numbers versus crude. Gasoline was the hydrocarbon with sizzle, particularly in the U.S. Europe was an exception with plenty of light-duty vehicles geared to use diesel. European refiners sold their excess gasoline to buyers on the East Coast. Nowadays, if refinery managers don’t maximize diesel output, they will be pilloried by shareholders or fired by private owners. Diesel is the product that commands respect and substantial profits on all populated continents. FuelsMarketNews.com

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Disorder in the Quarters


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Diesel demand may be considerably more consistent than gasoline demand, which is very lumpy.”

Tom Kloza is global head of energy analysis, OPIS. He has analyzed and covered crude oil, refined products and gas liquids for over four decades and is a regular guest commentator for Bloomberg and NPR Marketplace.

8 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

Even with sky-high profits for diesel in the North Atlantic, there are prospects for tightening supply thanks to some refinery closures abroad. You’ve heard about natural gas prices and electricity costs in Europe that have been and still are exponentially higher than natural gas prices on the North American continent. Those prices have consequences. Most European refineries use natural gas to fire up their boilers, but they also depend on natural gas to manufacture hydrogen, the key element in removing sulfur from diesel and gasoline. The prospect of European refinery closures is chilling, with late-March European inventories of the product at 14-year lows. Simply put, at least a half dozen European refineries are on “hydrocarbon hospice.” They have remained open thanks to regulatory subsidies but could be destined for closure later this year as the specter of new efficient global refining in 2023 augurs their demise. The biggest wildcard for diesel in the next three or four calendar quarters? It’s the economy. Diesel is the domestic and international growth product. Beyond the 18-wheelers, the fuel is critical in the burgeoning agricultural and mining businesses that are seeing more activity thanks to high prices for crops and metals. The IMO regulations passed in 2020 also dictate that distillate molecules barrels, which might have ended up in fleets, locomotives, big rigs and even fracking, are instead moving into container ships

and other vessels. And then there is the building trade–the rush to build more housing manifests itself in brisk local demand for diesel. Based on this unprecedented early 2022 backdrop, here are some predictions: • Diesel demand may be considerably more consistent than gasoline demand, which is very lumpy. Weekly demand numbers over 4 million b/d may be the standard with occasional surges to over 4.5 million b/d. • Don’t be surprised to see a change in the way fuel surcharges are calculated. In March, the difference between wholesale costs and retail pump prices was occasionally over $1 a gallon. The huge number of fleets on cost-plus pricing cries out for a new reference point. • Crude oil benchmarks are anybody’s guess in the remainder of 2022. But bulk markets for diesel, particularly with access to tidal water in New York Harbor, the Gulf Coast, California and the Pacific Northwest, may occasionally see diesel fetch $40-$60 bbl over crude. • U.S. exports will remain brisk. Notwithstanding talks between the Biden Administration and Venezuela, the Caribbean and South American refineries formerly run by PDVSA will struggle with low utilization rates. • Keep what’s known as the recency bias in mind. Just because wholesale prices have never surpassed $5 a gallon does not mean this cannot occur. Anything goes in 2022. FuelsMarketNews.com


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What Sets

The 2021 Fuel Leaders Apart? 10 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

FuelsMarketNews.com


We look at who excelled in five key areas of success. By Keith Reid

L

ast year marked the gradual return to a more open, pre-COVID-19 environment. As NACS State of the Industry data notes, total in-store sales increased to a record $277.9 billion in 2021. The in-store increase in sales also came despite a 1.5% decline in the number of convenience stores, which totaled 148,026 stores at the start of 2022. The average in-store basket size increased 6.3% in 2021 to $7.59 and has grown 22.4% during the past two years, making up for a 6.9% decrease in in-store transactions since 2019. Factoring in fuel sales of $427.8 billion, total convenience store sales reached $705.7 billion in 2021, meaning that overall sales were 3.1% of the total U.S. GDP of $23 trillion in 2021. Regarding fuels, total fuel gallons sold increased in 2021 but were still 14.2% below 2019 on a same-store basis, according to OPIS DemandPro data. There are about 128,000 active fuel stations in the U.S., according to OPIS. The Top 50 Fuel Brands in the industry range in size from 30 regional sites to slightly over 6,000 locations across North America. No two brands are alike (though some may have similar business models). This analysis, based on data from OPIS, provides a look at how our top fuel-selling operations compare to their peers in key areas.

FuelsMarketNews.com

2021 Fuel Leaders | 11


10 LARGEST CHAINS Rank

Brand

Stations

30

Circle K Laval, Quebec

6,018

41

7-Eleven Irving, Texas

4,595

12

Speedway Enon, Ohio

3,625

26

Casey’s Ankeny, Iowa

2,375

2

QuikTrip, Tulsa, Okla.

925

1

Wawa Wawa, Pa.

753

9

Kwik Trip La Crosse, Wisc.

659

3

Sheetz Altoona, Pa.

640

6

RaceTrac Atlanta, Ga.

567

22

Cumberland Farms Westborough, Mass.

564

10 SMALLEST CHAINS Rank

Brand

Stations

37

Delta Sonic Buffalo, N.Y.

30

11

Buc-ee’s Lake Jackson, Texas

42

49

High’s Dairy Store Baltimore, Md.

50

45

Wesco Muskegon, Mich.

55

32

Fastrac Syracuse, N.Y.

57

31

Byrne Dairy Syracuse, N.Y.

58

28

Dash In Food Stores LaPlata, Md.

59

46

Holiday Oil Salt Lake City, Utah

63

48

Kent Kwik Midland, Texas

63

38

Johnny’s Markets Marshall, Mich.

64

ECONOMY OF SCALE VS. SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY Size brings with it an economy of scale. This allows for more favorable fuel contracts from volume, the ability to run a fuel logistics program in-house, more aggressive advertising and marketing promotions, the ability to identify and hire top talent and the ability to implement the latest technologies—to name a few. Larger brands also can provide more regional or national recognition for potential customers. Smaller operations do have advantages. They can have more entrepreneurial drive, a better understanding of the local market, strong local customer support and, in general, more operational flexibility. The rankings are based on analysis from OPIS. The research firm’s methodology reduces the impact of sheer size on the rankings to get a more operationally focused performance metric. Looking at the Top 50 companies and comparing the 10 largest to the 10 smallest, there are companies that range from Circle K with 6,018 sites to Delta Sonic with 30 sites. Interestingly, both the largest and smallest companies in the Top 50 are similarly ranked, with Circle K at No. 30 and Delta Sonic at No. 37. The Top 5 brands tend to be more midsize, averaging about 559 sites, with QuickChek being an outlier at 93 sites. The largest was QuikTrip with 925 sites. It is interesting to note that this year’s Top 5 mirrored last year in both companies and order. They have obviously found a key to success.

The OPIS methodology reduces the impact of sheer size on the rankings to get a more operationally focused performance metric.

SOURCE: OPIS Brand Power Ranking Report

12 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

FuelsMarketNews.com


PRICING STRATEGIES The industry sells convenience centered on a host of store offers (meals, snacks, restrooms, lottery, coffee, etc.) and motor fuels. Fuel serves as a traffic driver to a site and a solid profit generator itself. But there is always a balance between volume, margin—and competition. Consumers are highly price conscious when it comes to motor fuels. Some operations focus on being a low-price fuel offer in their markets (perhaps to draw traffic for in-store sales), and others feel the power of the fuel/store brand provides more flexibility for higher pricing. Both approaches involve the typical tensions between volume, margins and competitive forces. As the OPIS data indicate, both approaches can be successful. One OPIS metric is how a company prices in the communities it serves relative to competitors. All of the Top 5 brands were priced below their competitive markets. However, it was virtually an even split in the Top 50 overall (51% below, 49% above). At the ends of the range, Buc-ee’s priced nearly 11 cents a gallon below its competitors, and ExtraMile priced nearly 17 cents above. These also were the low/high leaders in the inaugural rankings published in 2021.

SIZE, TOP 5 BRANDS Rank

Brand

Stations

1

Wawa Wawa, Pa.

753

2

QuikTrip Tulsa, Okla.

925

3

Sheetz Altoona, Pa.

640

4

QuickChek Whitehouse Station, N.J.

93

5

Maverik Salt Lake City, Utah

383

PRICE DIFFERENTIAL, TOP 5 BRANDS Rank

Brand

Community Price Differential

1

Wawa

($0.012)

2

QuikTrip

($0.032)

3

Sheetz

($0.002)

4

QuickChek

($0.037)

5

Maverik

($0.038)

Note: The figures in red are below the competitive market average.

LOW AND HIGH PRICE LEADERS Rank

Brand

Community Price Differential

Lowest Price Leaders 11

Buc-ee’s Lake Jackson, Texas

($0.107)

37

Delta Sonic Buffalo, N.Y.

($0.096)

36

Murphy Express El Dorado, Ark.

($0.090)

42

RaceWay Atlanta, Ga.

($0.045)

23

OnCue Express Stillwater, Okla.

($0.040)

Higher Price Leaders 15

ExtraMile Pleasanton, Calif.

$0.167

43

G & M Food Mart Huntington Beach, Calif.

$0.108

27

Terrible Herbst Las Vegas, Nev.

$0.096

20

Twice Daily Convenience Nashville, Tenn.

$0.060

21

Spinx Greenville, S.C.

$0.047

Note: The figures in red are below the competitive market average.

FuelsMarketNews.com

2021 Fuel Leaders | 13


CONSUMER MARKET SHARE, TOP 5 BRANDS

FLEET CARD MARKET SHARE, TOP 5 BRANDS

Rank

Brand

*U.S. Market Share (traffic)

Rank

Brand

*U.S. Market Share (fleet card)

1

Wawa

1.743%

1

Wawa

2.665%

2

QuikTrip

3.059%

2

QuikTrip

3.041%

3

Sheetz

1.282%

3

Sheetz

1.898%

QuickChek

0.252%

Maverik

0.882%

4

QuickChek

0.135%

4

5

Maverik

0.451%

5

CONSUMER MARKET SHARE LEADERS

FLEET CARD MARKET SHARE LEADERS

Rank

Brand

*U.S. Market Share (traffic)

Rank

Brand

*U.S. Market Share

30

Circle K

7.045%

30

Circle K

6.840%

12

Speedway

3.941%

12

Speedway

5.020%

41

7-Eleven

3.264%

41

7-Eleven

4.130%

QuikTrip

3.041%

2

QuikTrip

3.059%

2

26

Casey’s

2.609%

1

Wawa

2.665%

1

Wawa

1.743%

26

Casey’s

1.948%

6

RaceTrac

1.650%

3

Sheetz

1.898%

RaceTrac

1.778%

3

Sheetz

1.282%

6

9

Kwik Trip

0.924%

5

Maverik

0.882%

36

Murphy Express

0.753%

9

Kwik Trip

0.802%

SOURCE: OPIS Brand Power Ranking Report *Overall national gasoline market share based on just visits to the chains' properties through cellphone location tracking.

A look at the OPIS Consumer Market Share data reveals once again that scale matters in this category.

14 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

*Overall national gasoline market share based on just WEX fleet card gallons sold.

EFFICIENCY RANKINGS, TOP 5 BRANDS Ranking

Brand

% Efficient

1

Wawa

98%

2

QuikTrip

96%

3

Sheetz

99%

4

QuickChek

87%

5

Maverik

93%

HEAD-TO-HEAD EFFICIENCY LEADERS Ranking

Brand

% Efficient

3

Sheetz

99%

1

Wawa

98%

9

Kwik Trip

97%

11

Buc-ee’s

96%

2

QuikTrip

96%

19

Weigel’s Stores

95%

15

ExtraMile

95%

6

RaceTrac

94%

23

OnCue Express

94%

5

Maverik

93%

FuelsMarketNews.com


ATTRACTING CUSTOMERS A look at the OPIS Consumer Market Share data (an overall national gasoline market share based on visits to a chain’s properties through cellphone location tracking), reveals once again that scale matters in this category— which is to be expected. The Top 10 in this category are very clearly leading national or regional operations. Number of sites, brand recognition, TV advertising and the like have their advantages. Of course, the dynamic midsize and larger operations found here have a reputation for being effective operators regardless of scale. ATTRACTING FLEET CUSTOMERS OPIS tracks an overall national gasoline market share based just on WEX fleet card gallons sold. As with consumer visits, the scale of an operation is a significant factor similarly favoring the midsize and larger operations. In addition to such advantages as brand familiarity and marketing resources, fleets (in many cases) appreciate a more widespread availability of sites in their business area for drivers to access.

TOP 50 FUEL BRANDS Rank 2021

Rank 2020

Brand

Stations

# Communities

# States

1

1

Wawa

753

486

6

2

2

QuikTrip

925

537

14

3

3

Sheetz

640

434

6

4

4

QuickChek

93

72

2

5

5

Maverik

383

239

12

6

9

RaceTrac

567

359

9

7

7

Royal Farms

224

132

6

8

6

Get Go

266

207

5

9

8

Kwik Trip

659

319

4

10

10

Kum & Go

421

221

11

11

14

Buc-ee’s

42

35

4

12

13

Speedway

3625

2246

36

13

15

Thorntons

211

149

6

14

19

Holiday

543

276

10

15

16

ExtraMile

504

336

4

16

28

Bolla Market

214

114

3

17

11

Alltown Markets

72

61

6

18

12

Rutter’s

79

43

3

19

29

Weigel’s Stores

71

34

1

20

18

Twice Daily Convenience

93

48

4

21

21

Spinx

87

43

2

22

17

Cumberland Farms

564

391

8

23

23

OnCue Express

66

38

2

24

24

Kwik Star

108

72

2

25

34

Gate

76

43

4

26

36

Casey’s

2375

1549

16

27

25

Terrible Herbst

109

45

4

28

37

Dash In Food Stores

59

48

3

29

27

Jacksons Food Stores

281

184

7

30

22

Circle K

6018

2819

38

SOURCE: OPIS Brand Power Ranking Report

FuelsMarketNews.com

2021 Fuel Leaders | 15


HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPETITION An operator knows the competition and knows generally how well they stack up against each other. But what is the true metric for that success? OPIS provides this in a specific, detailed format for companies that purchase the full report, but it did share the general head-to-head performance of the Top 50 operators. This represents the percentage of times a specific brand was more efficient in gaining its head-to-head market share than its individual competitors (combined fleet and consumer). Keith Reid is editor-in-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at kreid@ fmnweb.com.

Rank 2021

Rank 2020

Brand

Stations

# Communities

# States

31

40

Byrne Dairy

58

45

1

32

61

Fastrac

57

43

2

33

30

My Goods Market

233

193

5

34

44

Family Express

82

44

2

35

39

Bucky’s Express

94

62

5

36

66

Murphy Express

338

323

23

37

41

Delta Sonic

30

27

3

38

54

Johnny’s Markets

64

47

2 4

39

42

On the Run

65

52

40

33

Stewart’s

323

174

2

41

26

7-Eleven

4595

2176

38

42

50

RaceWay

212

188

13

43

176

G & M Food Mart

102

73

1

44

59

Bell Stores

78

55

1

45

52

Wesco

55

41

1

46

63

Holiday Oil

63

29

1

47

53

Huck’s

126

100

5

48

51

Kent Kwik

63

29

4

49

48

High’s Dairy Store

50

36

2

50

45

MAPCO Express

322

173

7

SOURCE: OPIS Brand Power Ranking Report

A new year, offering tremendous opportunities. With a full line-up of programming in 2022, NACS has something for everyone.

convenience.org/events

16 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

FuelsMarketNews.com


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Fuel Price

Volatility

Analytics help retailers consider all their data points to build the best strategies to manage market fluctuations. SUPPLY PRICE VOLATILITY IS ALWAYS A CONSTANT IN THE INDUSTRY—AT SOME LEVEL. THE MARKET IS PARTICULARLY VOLATILE NOW. WHAT IMPACT CAN THIS VOLATILITY HAVE ON A RETAILER’S PROFITS? We speak with independent retailers daily, and they tell us that there are many challenges they face which are being exacerbated by the volatile markets. They don’t have the same buying power and economies of scale as larger, growing operators, and they are fighting aggressive competition for fewer gallons. Combined with these market swings, it is more challenging than ever to make their desired profits. Exactly how an individual retailer is impacted also depends on their personMark Truman Chief Revenue Officer ality type. At Edge we break this down into three categories “exiters, existers, excellers”. For exiters, retailers who are selling their stations, they are less EdgePetrol impacted as there is a huge market for them to move. Existers, who don’t want to make any changes to the status quo which has lasted for generations, are going to really struggle as they likely will be blindly following competitors on price that have much better buying power than them, potentially selling below cost. Exceller retailers, who are always looking to optimize their stations, are not only less impacted but also are able to take advantage of the situation. Getting in ahead of the problem makes all the difference! HOW DO CONSUMERS RESPOND TO VOLATILITY AT THE RETAIL LEVEL AND TO HIGH PRICES IN GENERAL? Of course, households must pull back on spending when prices rise. If the average U.S. household spends say 3% of their budget on gasoline, a doubling of gas prices would suggest this would then be 6%. In this situation, consumers decide whether to cut back on fuel or other goods to meet their budget. Those whose mileage is essential (work) are less likely to 18 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

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cut back on fuel than those who travel for luxury (road trips and holidays), so a station’s location will be key to the impact they see. There is also a potential challenge for in-store sales. What EdgePetrol’s volume data has shown is that as gas prices rose, the number of transactions increased, and the average fill reduced. The price-sensitive portion of the population tends to fill up with a dollar figure in mind, for example $10 as opposed to four or five gallons. The result is that even if they don’t intend to change their habits, they are forced to fill up more regularly as that same $10 is getting less fuel in the tank. I’d also expect consumers to take advantage of cash discounts more regularly and maybe even drop down an octane or two when it comes to choosing what grade to fill up with. WHAT ARE SOME BEST PRACTICES TO HELP RETAILERS MANAGE VOLATILITY? The first thing is to have a handle on cost. When the market is moving to this extent, it is difficult to account for the fuel from previous deliveries. This can lead to lost opportunities to price more competitively to drive volume or to hold for margin when the need arises. EdgePetrol users who switch from replacement cost methodology (using today’s cost to price all the fuel in your tanks) to our weighted-and-blended cost price (blending the cost of all the deliveries) are seeing upwards of 18% increases in profit. It’s also important to bring more data sets into your thinking. We call this the ‘Five Pillars of Fuel Pricing’ and this covers volume, margin, competition, profit and execution. This is what exceller retailers do best: They consider all their data points to build the best strategies, which leads to optimized profits for their stations. Another critical component to consider is changing consumer habits, and how COVID has accelerated convenience-led shopping. The 2022 NACS Consumer Fuels Survey tells us that 69% of consumers see price as the dominant factor when choosing where to fill up. So, outside of retail fuel pricing, retailers should be looking at other reasons to bring consumers to their stores. HOW CAN PRICE ANALYTICS BE PART OF THE SOLUTION? Price analytics has always been part of the solution, and it continues to evolve. Retailers that FuelsMarketNews.com

have 40+ years’ experience have always strived to get data into a usable format. Spreadsheets have now become the old way of working, and retailers are using software to get better data, more visibility, and an acute understanding of what levers to pull, what moves the needle to allow them to get ahead in the market. The beauty of EdgePetrol’s software is that it can connect and consolidate your station’s data to provide real-time information, so you are never operating after the fact. Exceller retailers are recognizing that the best decisions to optimize profits are data driven, so they’re deleting their spreadsheets faster than fuel prices are moving! HOW DOES AN INVESTMENT IN FUEL PRICE ANALYTICS HELP AS VOLATILITY EASES? The challenges in the fuel market go way beyond that of market volatility. The EIA expects volumes to reduce every year through to 2050, meaning retailers need more profit per gallon just to make the same. This game of marginal increase means massive improvements to the bottom line. On average our retailers can find an additional 1-5 cents per gallon. That’s a HUGE impact on profitability. Aggressive competition is here to stay and will continue to depress margins as the big players with better buying power and cult-like brands are getting even bigger. Business costs are rising, and staff are difficult to find. These challenges don’t go away as volatility eases. Where fuel pricing software helps to fight back against these challenges is that it optimizes a large part of your operation to drive profits that can solve other challenges. When market volatility has eased in the past, retailers have looked at new and exciting strategies that create opportunities. These can’t be performed to a high standard without the live and accessible data that software like EdgePetrol provides.

This interview is brought to you by EdgePetrol. 2021 Fuel Leaders | 19


And the Leader Is...

20 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

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Wawa comes out on top in the rankings for the second year.

By Keith Reid

W

awa Inc., is once again the top-ranked brand in the Fuels Market News Top 50 Fuel Leaders spotlight, developed in partnership with OPIS, a Dow Jones company. Wawa is a privately held company that began in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. As the company history describes, owner George Wood took an interest in dairy farming, and the family began a small processing plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania, in 1902. The milk business was a huge success, due to its quality, cleanliness and “certified” process. As home delivery of milk declined in the early 1960s, Grahame Wood, George’s grandson, opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products with a store in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Today, the company has more than 950 stores with about 753 offering fuel in six states (Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia) and the District of Columbia. Forbes.com ranked Wawa as #23 of America’s Largest Private Comptanies in 2020. Building on its continued growth throughout its current market areas, Wawa recently announced plans to expand its footprint into the Florida Panhandle region, along with adjacent markets in South Alabama over the next few years. Wawa is actively looking into potential sites for new stores in the Florida markets of Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee, along with Mobile, Alabama. Current plans are for Wawa to open up to 40 stores in these markets with the first stores expected in 2024. In addition to ranking first for overall efficiency, Wawa is ranked second among the Top 50 in the Head-to-Head Efficiency category compared to other competitors in the markets it serves.

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2021 Fuel Leaders | 21


Wawa ranks 1st for overall efficiency in the Top 50 Fuel Leaders list and 2nd in the Head-to-Head Efficiency category compared to other competitors in the markets it serves. The OPIS data showed that Wawa tends to be a consumer market share leader in the locations where it does business. It ranked 6th in the top 10 companies for market share as a reflection of both its reputation in the market and the popularity of its offerings.

INSIDE THE STORE Wawa has long been regarded as a leader in convenience retail operations. Wawa offers a large selection of frozen beverages, all available built-to-order at the touch screen. Its coffee is hot, fresh and ready to go, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is an ample selection of bottled and canned beverages in the cooler. Wawa is especially well regarded for its large, fresh foodservice selection, including Wawa staples such as custom prepared hoagies, hot breakfast sandwiches and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks. The customer always comes first, and that carries over into Wawa’s “Built-to-Order” philosophy. The customer can mix and match numerous ingredients to design the perfect meal, guaranteed to be freshly made and quickly served by its customer service associates. The company offers a robust rewards program for both store items and fuel promotions. 22 | 2021 Fuel Leaders

FUELING AND EV CHARGING All Wawa fuel stores carry three grades of gasoline. Many stores carry diesel fuel, and some carry ethanol-free gasoline. Wawa has a stated commitment to provide from major domestic refineries high-quality fuels that are formulated to meet or exceed the most stringent EPA and auto manufacturer standards for quality. The fuel contains detergent cleansing additives as required by the EPA to decrease vehicle emissions by limiting the formation of deposits in engines and fuel supply systems. Wawa provides its customers with a guarantee on fuel quality. If a vehicle has a mechanical problem caused by its fuel, Wawa will pay for the repair. The vehicle will be serviced by a professional technician qualified to identify and fix fuel-related problems. Qualified technicians have an A8 certification from the Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. As the OPIS data show, Wawa is one of roughly half of the Top 50 that charges below the markets in which it does business, in its case by approximately $0.012. Wawa began hosting EV charging at its first store in 2017. The company hosts Tesla Superchargers, along with EVgo and Electrify America CCS and CHAdeMO EV chargers. Wawa continues to add electric vehicle charging stations throughout its operating area. As of March 2022, the retailer has 87 EV charging locations, and two million charging sessions have been reached chainwide. For commercial customers, the Wawa Fleet Card offers a business a convenient way to manage fuel and maintenance needs, track driver spending, monitor vehicle fleet activity and more. FuelsMarketNews.com


The card is accepted at more than 645 Wawa locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Wawa is among the top five companies (ranked five) for fleet market share where the company does business. WAWA’S SOCIAL PURPOSE Wawa’s stated commitment to its social purpose is an extension of Wawa’s core purpose of “Fulfilling Lives, Every Day” and is comprised of four strategic pillars: • Valuing Associates—Nurturing the people at the heart of our purpose. • Providing Trusted Products—Upholding our tradition of high quality, safe and trusted products. • Protecting the environment—Ensuring a cleaner, safer world for current and future generations. • Supporting Our Communities—Building stronger communities through care, compassion and kindness.

At Wawa, “social purpose is embedded into the fabric and DNA of us as individuals and the organization. It’s an extension of our core purpose of who we are,” Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa, shared with NACS in the 2021 Ideas 2 Go video series. (Watch it at www.convenience. org/Media/Ideas2Go/2021/Wawa.) “It’s how we make decisions, the people that we hire, the way that we support our communities and the way we serve our customers every day.” Adds Gheysens, “This framework allows us to direct and benchmark our efforts, allocate resources, time and people to the things that matter the most for us.”

Keith Reid is editor-in-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at kreid@fmnweb.com.

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