SOURCE Can Alternative Fuels Get Us to Net Zero?
In the Lead:
Fuel Relief Fund
Biden’s EV Agenda Advances
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36 Keep the Tailpipe, Lose COVER STORY
Leading fuels-focused groups see alternative fuels as key players in a net-zero environment.
Put Science Behind Your Street Price
In the Lead
A Q&A with EdgePetrol.
When disaster strikes, the Fuel Relief Fund is a global first responder for critical fuel supply and access challenges.
Power of 48 The Connectivity A Q&A with Dover Fuel Solutions.
The Biden Administration advances climate change, EV infrastructure goals.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 1
04 06 08 10
From the Editor NACS News Fuels Institute Fueled for Thought
RETAILER OPERATIONS 14 T he Greatest (C-Store) Show on Earth
Make a plan for the NACS Show—and build connections while you’re there.
16 C lean Drives Business Growth
Training and accountability are among the five strategies to improve the cleanliness of your c-store.
18 B eyond Bright Lights
Engage all senses to attract vehicle wash customers.
COMMERCIAL FUELS 24 Who’s Going to Haul Your Fuel?
A shortage of bulk tanker drivers has carriers tapping into a more diverse talent pool.
FUEL MARKETERS 30 Choosing the Right Loading Arm System
A lot of time, thought and effort is needed when identifying a solution that optimizes terminal operations.
F inding and Landing Great New Accounts Do your homework on the potential customers you want to target.
Industry News Remember This?
30 2 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
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FROM THE EDITOR
Don’t Dismiss Combustion We live in a combustion world. Gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and a range of renewable versions of these fuels, including but not limited to ethanol and biodiesel, power private and commercial transportation. While there is significant buzz around electric vehicles, and specific moves have been made to shift from a low-carbon future to a zero-carbon future centered on EVs, the most radical expectations are hardly assured. There is little doubt that electric vehicles will increasingly penetrate the world’s vehicle fleets. The technology is improving significantly to the point where many past concerns such as range are reduced—though hardly eliminated. Until you can recharge the battery fully in the same amount of time it takes to fill a tank of fuel, internal combustion engines will always have a core advantage. Further, huge numbers of people don’t have access to a garage to provide the most economical and efficient charging option. There are enormous challenges at the charging infrastructure level not just to adding chargers but to supporting the electrical grid itself. For each question that is answered, it seems as if two or three additional questions are raised as to how it is all going to work. And then, there are the people. So far, the most aggressive carbon reduction initiatives have been top-down and, for the time being, theoretical for the citizenry. That will soon change, and any personal costs (economic or lifestyle) associated with carbon reduction will start to factor into the political and policy equation. While proponents paint a zero-carbon future as being painless, and even economically beneficial, opponents provide a compelling argument that such a transition would be both costly and disruptive economically and culturally. This is not just with the transportation sector, but with most aspects of daily life. They will have a say. 4 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
It’s notable that many of these fuels have a renewable component. It was with that in mind that we decided to look at the combustion-related fuels that up until a few months ago seemed to have an equal seat at the carbon reduction table. You can find that in our cover story, “Keep the Tailpipe, Lose the Carbon.” It’s notable that many of these fuels have a renewable component, to where they could make a net-zero carbon argument, should that be required. These fuels are also perfectly suited for our current transportation infrastructure and suitable for the current on-the-go lifestyle. That does not mean that fuel retailers should ignore the electric vehicle challenge. That is not going to go away. The technology is improving, penetration will continue to grow and there will undoubtably be operational decisions that need to be made sooner, rather than later, about how to integrate these customers into the mix. We’ll work to keep our readers abreast of any conventional wisdom or best practices that develop as they get hammered out.
EDITORIAL Keith Reid Editor-in-Chief (847) 630-4760 firstname.lastname@example.org Kim Stewart Editorial Director (703) 518-4279 email@example.com Sara Counihan Managing Editor (703) 518-4278 firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Stephen Bennett, John J. Kimmel, David Morrow, Joe O'Brien, Roy Strasburger, Mark Tentis, Mike G. Zahajko DESIGN Beyond Definition www.beyond-definition.com
ADVERTISING Ted Asprooth (847) 222-3006 email@example.com
PUBLISHING Erin Pressley Publisher (703) 518-4208 firstname.lastname@example.org Rose Johnson Audience Development and Production Manager (703) 518-4218 email@example.com Fuels Market News Magazine is published quarterly by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Subscription Requests: firstname.lastname@example.org POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Fuels Market News Magazine, 1600 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314-2792 USA. Contents © 2021 by the National Association of Convenience Stores. Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria, VA, and additional mailing offices.
Keith Reid is the editor-in-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
1600 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314-2792
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The New Age of Verification Early this summer NACS released TruAge™—a groundbreaking digital identification solution that enhances current age-verification systems at all retail points of sale while still protecting user privacy. TruAge™ works by verifying a person’s age, not their identity. A buyer presents their driver’s license, which is scanned, and the TruAge™ system creates an encrypted, single-use identity token in the cloud that verifies the purchaser’s age, date of birth and driver’s license issuer state, and that information goes into the store’s T-log. The first transaction will take about 15 seconds longer than normal, but after that, the age-verification process is seamless and customers won’t have to show their driver’s licenses again, just the app. The technology isn’t just for convenience stores. Any retailer of age-restricted products can use TruAge™ to securely verify a customer’s age at all points of sale. It is
free to retailers, consumers and POS providers, and its relevant intellectual property will be placed in the public domain—removing significant barriers to adoption. The solution is already supported by more than 130 retail companies that represent 22,000-plus convenience store locations in the United States, plus four industry point-of-sale providers. Learn more about the TruAge™ program and opportunities to participate at www.convenience.org/TruAge.
Did you know that Fuels Market News is now offering OPIS fuel price data each week in its newsletters through a special arrangement with OPIS? The data are regional, encompass both retail and rack, and cover gasoline (all grades), ULSD, E85 and DEF. This provides the retailer or distributor with useful benchmarking metrics to help evaluate their operations. Accessing the data is as simple as subscribing to the Fuels Market News newsletters at www.fuelsmarketnews.com/subscribe-fmn. You’ll also receive the latest fuels news and weekly feature content. 6 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
The pace of the convenience and fuel retailing industry change continues to happen at a fast clip, and it can be tough to keep up. One way to stay on top of the evolution is to have the right data at your fingertips. The NACS State of the Industry Enterprise is the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s leading research entity. By engaging with retailers throughout the United States, NACS Research collects, aggregates, presents and provides commentary on operational and financial industry metrics and trends. The NACS State of the Industry Report is the industry’s premier benchmarking tool and the most comprehensive collection of data and trends. This report not only provides fuel analysts’ perspectives on the lessons of 2020 and their predictions for 2021 but also helps you understand the big picture with data and analysis on economic, market and shopper dynamics specific to the industry. The NACS State of the Industry Compensation Report ensures that you not only hire the right person for your team but also attract top talent and retain your star employees. This report provides critical benchmarking data and up-to-date standards in the key human resource categories of compensation, turnover, benefits and recruitment. It also breaks down the newest available numbers in the convenience industry and is considered an essential guide for HR professionals. To order these reports and learn more about NACS research opportunities, visit www.convenience.org/research. FuelsMarketNews.com
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Hybrids Stage a Comeback BY JOHN EICHBERGER
he Honda Insight—the first hybrid vehicle to make its debut in the United States—arrived 22 years ago. The Toyota Prius entered the market the following year, and the hybrid market began to accelerate. By 2007, sales eclipsed 350,000 units from just 13 models, and some were predicting that more than 100 hybrid models would soon be available for sale in the U.S. Those forecasts were never realized, and year after year sales hovered at or below 3%, setting a record of 3.2% of sales in 2013 before slipping to less than 2% just three years later. Recent data indicate that automobile manufacturers have not given up on this technology, maybe due to Obama-era CAFE standards. In the first quarter of 2021, hybrids clawed up to 4.5% of sales. What has changed, and what can we learn from the experience of hybrid vehicles? MARKET PENETRATION It took seven years (2006) before the market offered more than 10 hybrid models from which consumers could select. Their popularity, however, was growing, and a rapid expansion was set to occur in the coming years. Early on, the policy cards were being stacked to support their growth. By 2010, hybrids were moving closer to mainstream. Model availability had dramatically improved with 29 hybrids offered for sale in the U.S. Yet, sales volume did not grow in parallel. In fact, only 274,000 were sold in 2010, compared with 352,000 sold in 2007 when less than half as many models (13) were available. Choice was better, but sales did not follow suit. Granted, the end of the decade FIGURE 1 | Hybrid Models and Sales
50 45 40 35
2001 2003 2005 2007 2009
8 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, WARDS INTELLIGENCE
experienced the Great Recession, which affected everything. In 2013, nearly 500,000 hybrid vehicles were sold, and consumers could choose from 46 different models. Hybrids represented 3.2% of light-duty vehicles sold and edged out diesel-equipped vehicles to become the second most popular powertrain in America. Following that year’s performance, though, sales slipped. DOWNTURN Why were hybrids seemingly forgotten as a choice among consumers? For that, I think it is helpful to look at consumer preferences. In 2018, the Fuels Institute published “Driving Vehicle Sales—Utility, Affordability and Efficiency,” a review of more than 15 years of vehicle sales data and vehicle attributes. We concluded that people buy vehicles largely based upon what they need (i.e., a large family is not purchasing a compact sedan as their primary vehicle), what they can afford (purchase price is critical) and vehicle efficiency (typically applied within the class of vehicle they have determined they need). These observations clearly apply to the hybrid market, and its history can provide insight into how newer vehicles (i.e., EVs) may be considered by consumers. Consider the market for hybrids in 2013 versus 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Of the 46 hybrids sold in 2013, 33 (72%) were classified as “cars” versus 13 “light trucks.” Yet even back in 2013, light trucks represented more than 50% of all vehicles sold, and the trend toward truck-classified vehicles was gaining momentum. Hybrids were not following those trends. Price is another issue that may have limited hybrid market penetration, even during this strong year. The best-selling hybrids in 2013 that were also available in gasoline-only versions were the Toyota Camry and the Ford Fusion. When comparing the MSRP for these vehicles, price may have been a factor—the hybrid variants carried about a $4,000 premium FuelsMarketNews.com
Toyota Camry Hybrid LE
Toyota Camry Gas LE
and were quite a bit more expensive than the class-leading Prius. One would think that the fuel economy advantages of the hybrids would help consumers overcome that price delta. Overall, hybrids on average were 83% more efficient than gasoline vehicles. It seems this did have an impact in 2013, when gasoline averaged $3.49 a gallon. Even so, the promise of reduced fuel expenditures over a future period of time seems difficult for consumers to embrace and incorporate into their purchase decision, especially when the vehicle purchase price is nearly 20% higher. TURNAROUND Fast forward eight years and the market for hybrids seems to have recovered. In 2018 hybrids accounted for less than 2% of sales from 36 different models. This could have been the result of several factors, including the enthusiasm for EVs, coupled with a four-year period in which retail fuel prices averaged a low $2.41 per gallon. Model availability might have been an issue—of the 36 models available, 26 remained classified as cars. Surprisingly, hybrids staged a comeback during the pandemic year of 2020. Of the 37 models sold last year, 23 (62%) still were cars. But the best-selling hybrids in 2020 were crossover vehicles, with the Toyota RAV4 hybrid accounting for 25% of all hybrid sales. Looking FuelsMarketNews.com
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford Fusion Gas SE
FIGURE 2 | Comparing Popular Hybrid vs. Gas Models
SOURCE: MOTOR TRENDS, WARDS INTELLIGENCE
at the first quarter of 2021, only 18 (56%) of the 32 hybrid models sold were cars, and the top five models, accounting for 60% of all hybrid sales, were crossovers and one van. Of those five, three have gasoline-only variants. The price delta between powertrains ranged from $2,000 to $5,000, with efficiency advantages close to 50%. The other two, which were previously offered with gasoline-only powertrains, were only available as hybrids, which likely helped boost their popularity. The availability of hybrid powertrains in popular models that consumers want to purchase appears to have influenced the sales performance of these vehicles. There are lessons to be learned from the hybrid experience. Customers have certain decision-making processes and priorities. What they need and what they can afford are paramount in deciding what type of vehicle to consider. For new vehicle technologies entering the market, such as EVs, I believe the same will hold true. The transition to positioning hybrid vehicles and EVs within the context of consumer preferences has begun—let’s see if sales follow suit. This is condensed from The Commute blog post “Hybrid Theory.” Read more at www.fuelsinstitute. org/Resources/The-Commute/ Hybrid-Theory.
The best-selling hybrids in 2020 were crossover vehicles, with the Toyota RAV4 hybrid accounting for 25% of all hybrid sales.
John Eichberger is executive director of The Fuels institute. For more information, visit www.fuelsinstitute.org.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 9
FUELED FOR THOUGHT
Crossing the Bridge to Zero Emissions Here are three factors that will influence the next generation of heavy-duty powertrains and fuels. BY JOE O’BRIEN
here is much speculation that electric-powered vehicles will one day be the standard of automotive transportation across the United States. When (and if) the shift to zero emissions occurs, it will need to be preceded by a transition period in which a mix of petroleum-based fuels and non-electric alternative fuels support the country’s transportation needs while electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure simultaneously expands nationwide. This “bridge” model is especially true when it comes to commercial freight, which will likely be hauled by an amalgam of heavy-duty vehicles powered by different energy sources over the next five to 15 years. As a result, it isn’t completely obvious which heavy-duty alternative fuels marketers should add to their product offering. Here’s a look at three key factors that will influence the next generation of 10 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
heavy-duty powertrains and the fuels that will be at the forefront of the transition to EVs. 1. FLEET HAULING AND MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS Trip range is such a critical consideration for over-the-road trucking, and it is affected by more factors than the fuel economy of the energy source alone. Freight load, terrain, vehicle aerodynamics and driver behavior impact how far a vehicle will be able to travel on a full load of fuel. As such, moving goods between cities by long-haul truck will remain dependent on liquid fuel, primarily diesel that is likely composed of at least 50% petroleum. From a fleet operator’s perspective, vehicle maintenance is a major consideration regarding total cost of ownership. Internal combustion engines contain about 2,000 moving parts that are subject to failure; electric vehicles have just about 1% of that number of moving FuelsMarketNews.com
parts. Maintenance for internal combustion engines also requires ongoing replacement of fluids that brings both the cost of the replacement fluids and the labor required to perform the work. 2. REGIONAL MARKET LEADERS Moving goods within a city or expanded metropolitan area will become more dependent on fuels that can be produced easily and at a competitive price point in certain regions. These regional dynamics will create a “hub and spoke” system for moving goods. For example, CNG will be attractive in areas like Texas, ethanol and biofuels in the Midwest, electricity where wind farms develop and hydrogen in states willing to invest in it like California. Only five plants currently produce renewable diesel in the United States, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, and most of the fuel is used in California due to the economic benefits of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That notwithstanding, U.S. production of renewable diesel is projected to expand. 3. SUPPLY AND DISPENSING INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIREMENTS While there is some overlap among the equipment needed to dispense alternative trucking fuels, the equipment considerations range from little-to-no changes needed for existing infrastructure (biodiesel and renewable diesel) to significant equipment expenditures. For instance, the process for natural gas fueling includes accessing the pipeline at the municipal inlet gas connection, drying and compressing the gas and then routing the CNG for either storage or dispensing. CNG fueling infrastructure comprises some of the same types of components as petroleum fueling systems—storage tanks, FuelsMarketNews.com
underground piping and dispensers. But desiccant dryers are also needed to remove water or water vapor from the natural gas supply, and compressors are needed to compress the natural gas to the appropriate pressure to fill a vehicle. Compressors and pipelines are also needed for the economical supply of hydrogen. In fact, because of recent efforts to reduce the expansion of fossil fuel pipelines, some pipeline owners are eyeing hydrogen to increase utilization of existing infrastructure. Although distribution of ethanol is already pervasive within retail fuel, not all components in the existing infrastructure have proved compatible with long-term exposure to high concentrations of ethanol. Most tanks are compatible with E100, but the same cannot be said of certain UST components. Fuel marketers should not assume that the distribution of high concentrations of ethanol would be a seamless transition. Due to the multiple factors that can influence what emission-reducing drivetrain will best serve each individual heavy-duty hauling operation, fleets will begin to incorporate several different vehicle types that utilize different alternative energy sources. Consequently, industries providing fuel and service to heavy-duty vehicles should prepare for a diverse sales and service model. Diesel will continue to be used in some form for some time as adoption of lower emission fuels simultaneously increases. But, just as the iconic trucking communication tool—the CB radio—has been supplanted by more advanced technologies like cellphones and GPS, today’s commercial fuel marketers, home fueling fleets and retailers will need to advance to meet the changing fuel needs of the trucking industry.
Moving goods between cities by long-haul truck will remain dependent on liquid fuel, primarily diesel that is likely composed of at least 50% petroleum.
Joe O’Brien is vice president of marketing at Source North America Corporation. He has more than 25 years of experience in the petroleum equipment fuel industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sourcena.com to learn more.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 11
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Fuel Additives: Building Your Brand and Inspiring Customer Loyalty BY DR. KHALED RASHWAN & ERIN F. SMITH As engine technology continues to evolve and vehicle outputs reach new heights, maintaining engine performance as designed is critical to owner success and satisfaction. While the focus in this article will be on diesel additives, multifunctional additive packages are available that fuel marketers can use to provide gasoline, diesel and renewable fuels that have been optimized to meet your customers’ performance requirements, differentiate your fuel, build your brand, grow your business, and develop a loyal customer following. Additive packages are customizable to meet the performance needs of varying fuel blends, customer segments, geographies and seasons: DETERGENCY ADDITIVES Year-round diesel detergency is of the utmost importance, as dirty fuel systems will operate less efficiently due to deposit build-up from lower quality fuels. With lower quality diesel, the fuel will fail to combust completely, leading to reduced fuel economy and power output, as well as increased emissions. Including detergent additives in the fuel blend can help control deposit formation on and in fuel injectors that cause lost efficiency and poor performance. These additives can clean and maintain fuel systems, helping to reduce costly downtime, maintenance, repairs and part replacements for your customers. Marketers that utilize robust detergent additives in their fuels can provide claims, such as: • Provides clean up and keep-clean detergency • Cleans up internal diesel injector deposits (IDID) • Helps restore lost power and fuel economy • Reduces emissions COLD FLOW IMPROVERS Winter will be here soon, and different regions will struggle with combating lower temperatures and keeping engines up and running. One risk customers
face is wax settling; if a vehicle is idle for too long, wax fallout can occur and plug filters. WASA (wax anti-settling agents) in cold flow additives can disperse the wax in fuel blends, reducing the risk of this occurring. Cold flow additives are a great way to enhance the low temperature operation of fuels in a range of low temperatures. Marketers that add cold flow improvers to their fuel blends can tout many benefits, including: • Improves low temperature operability • Lowers Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) • Improves fuel handling and flow characteristics •Minimizes effects of water contamination by inhibiting ice crystal formation • Reduces risk of frozen fuel lines and filters • Minimizes need for kerosene dilution • Reduces risk of wax fallout and plugged filters CETANE IMPROVERS The cetane number is a measure of the ignition delay of diesel. With cetane-improving additives, marketers can provide solutions to their customers like: • Facilitates cold weather starts • Maintains smoother engine idle • Emits less smoke and odor • Reduces engine noise STABILIZERS & ANTIOXIDANTS Over time, fuel can break down and develop gums, varnish and acids (especially in biodiesel blended fuels). These elements can plug fuel filters and harm sensitive engine components, causing poor engine performance. The right combination of antioxidant and stabilizing fuel additives can protect against fuel degradation, reducing the risk of residues and plugged filters, as well as extending the storage life of fuel for both marketers and their customers. LUBRICITY IMPROVERS Lubricity is necessary to protect fuel pumping and injection systems.
Hydrotreating diesel to remove sulfur also removes naturally occurring lubricity-containing components from diesel fuel. While there is a minimum lubricity specification (ASTM D975), engine manufacturers have long had concerns that this minimum is not low enough to meet their recommendations for optimal engine performance. Additizing fuel with lubricity improvers can bring this important property back to match the engine manufacturer specification, potentially providing a longer serviceable life for various engine components. CORROSION INHIBITORS Water contamination is an unfortunate and inherent issue in fuel distribution systems, and low sulfur fuel may not always provide protection against rusting. Where there is water and metals, there is corrosion. Choosing the right additives can provide a protective barrier to the fuel storage and transfer systems, as well as to the vehicle engine components to guard against corrosion. WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP FOR MARKETERS? MCC can tailor fuel additive packages to your specifications to provide the necessary solutions to your diesel, renewable and gasoline fuel blends that will resonate most with your customer base and build your brand. MCC is ready to be your fuel additive partner. Contact us today at fueladditives@ mcchemical.com to discuss customized fuel additives and to provide your customer with the best solutions. Dr. Khaled Rashwan is the Technical Manager at MidContinental Chemical Company, Inc. (MCC) has extensive experience in the specialty chemical industry. Dr. Rashwan can be reached at email@example.com. Erin Smith is the Marketing Specialist at MidContinental Chemical Company, Inc. (MCC) and has 10+ years of experience in industrial and chemical marketing. Ms. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greatest (C-Store) Show on Earth Make a plan for the NACS Show——and build connections while you’re there. BY ROY STRASBURGER
any years ago, I took my six-year-old nephew to one of the many tourist shops on the Cornish coast in England. The day had been consumed with playing on the beach and walking the many trails along the coast. My wife and I had spent the day using positive reinforcement with the kids, telling them that if they did as they were told and didn’t drown, we would all go out for ice cream that evening. We turned the corner and could see the lights of the shopfront window 14 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
shining in the gathering gloom of the evening. The six-year-old burst through the front door and into the store and came to a halt three steps inside. In front of him was a vast array of candies, ice creams and toys. After hours of playing hard in the sun and constantly being told that paradise awaited at the end of the day—he had arrived. And his eyes popped out of his head at the wonderment of it all. I’ve often had this six-year-old feeling when I walked into the exhibition hall at the annual NACS Show. This year the
NACS Show is being held in Chicago October 5-8 at the McCormick Place convention center. It is the largest convenience store and gas station exhibition in the United States and one of the largest tradeshows, overall. This year it is going to be in person after being a virtual show in 2020 due to the pandemic. Everything that one could want for their store is available to look at, test, eat or take home (for a few U.S. dollars). The latest products, gadgets and technology are presented for your consideration and evaluation. To make the most of the NACS Show, I recommend you follow these steps: •R egister. If you have not registered or booked a hotel room for the Show, do it now at www.NACSshow.com. •A ttend sessions. Look at the education sessions that are offered. The topics range from store operations to foodservice to human resources to fuels. Think about the areas where FuelsMarketNews.com
you’re looking for advice, and pick the education sessions that you think will be most helpful to you. Before you attend, think of questions that you want answered, and write them down in advance. •N etwork. Although the presentations themselves are very helpful, the great value of the sessions is meeting with, and talking to, other retailers and suppliers that have the same issues and questions as you. It is a chance to meet with your peers to learn how they are handling the situations and the problems that you are experiencing. The ability to network during the education sessions and the various receptions is, I think, one of the greatest values of the NACS Show. •B ring others. If you can afford to have people out of the store or out of the company for a few days, having multiple people attend so that you can split up and cover different areas is very helpful. Of course, you need to evaluate the cost of registration, lodging, travel and meals in making your calculations. My guess is that if you do it properly, the return on investment will be there. •P lan. Look at the exhibition planning guide provided by NACS. This will tell you who is exhibiting at the show and where they are located on the trade show floor. This is important for planning your route through the hundreds of booths. It is helpful to split your visits into areas of expertise so that you can talk to several of the same type of vendors on the same visit. •D ivide and conquer. If you have other people join you at the show, have them split up and visit different areas in different sections. What we have done in the past is FuelsMarketNews.com
assign each member of our group a different set of questions or tasks, and then meet in the evening to compare notes. During the debrief, we look at the best ideas gathered to see if we need to follow up while we are at the show. We also note if anyone saw something very special that everyone else needs to see. •F ollow up. Be sure to take lots of business cards to leave them with people you meet and want to stay in contact with. I try to carry a pen with me to write the specific items that I’m interested in or the specific question that I have on the back of my card to remind them about our conversation. When you visit a booth and show interest, the exhibitor will scan your badge with your registration information on it so they can contact you. A “pro tip” is to also collect the name of the person at the booth so you can contact them if you don’t hear from them within a week or two of the Show. •M ake friends. As I mentioned earlier, one of the great things about the NACS Show is the opportunity for networking and meeting your peers. If you meet someone who you like and has a business similar to yours, be sure to stay in touch with them after the Show. The more people that you can contact to ask questions, solicit advice or bounce ideas off, the more you help your business. The NACS Show is a huge benefit for independent retailers. You get to hear about what is happening in the industry and the best new ideas being introduced. Both can help you serve your customers better, increase your sales and stay ahead of your competition. Can you afford not to attend the Show?
The great value of the sessions is meeting with, and talking to, other retailers and suppliers that have the same issues and questions as you.
Roy Strasburger is the CEO of StrasGlobal. For 35 years StrasGlobal has been the choice of global oil brands, distressed assets managers, real-estate lenders and private investors seeking a complete, turnkey retail management solution.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 15
Training and accountability are among the five strategies to improve the cleanliness of your c-store. BY MIKE G. ZAHAJKO
-store shoppers are returning with higher expectations around safety and cleanliness. Fortunately, the need to clean is not new and many retailers are prepared. For those now beginning the journey—it all starts with making cleanliness a priority. Why focus on cleaning? In short, customers buy more from clean stores. A clean experience in the forecourt drives traffic in-store. Shoppers now associate cleanliness with safety. Recent convenience industry studies show that stores with an above-average cleaning rating generate 21% more visits than their below-average peers. Retailers implementing initiatives to improve cleanliness report a 7-15% increase in sales. 16 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
Customers are now starting to demand more when fueling up. An unkempt forecourt gives the impression interior cleanliness will also be lacking, which in turn, prevents more sales inside. So how do you get a store’s team to buy-in and execute on a cleaning program? Here are five strategies to improve cleanliness. 1. PUT ON YOUR “CUSTOMER GOGGLES.” First, we need to train store employees and leaders to put on their “customer goggles” and view their site from the customer perspective. Consider what customers walk on, what they touch and where their eyes gravitate to while standing at the pump.
• A re specific conditions in the forecourt giving customers a negative impression? •A re there potential slip and fall hazards? • I s there grime outside that will stop a hungry customer from coming into the store? •H ow do the diesel and gasoline nozzles look? These outdoor forecourt components are a convenience store’s official “handshake” with each customer. Bonus tip: Study what customers are saying in online reviews. 2. BUILD A PLAN FOR BOTH INDOOR AND EXTERIOR CLEANING. Most people first learn how to clean at home. You could be the best at shining up the kitchen or bathrooms in your house, but cleaning in the fuel world is vastly different. Not only are the chemicals different, but the cleaning challenges are larger and significantly more demanding. Employees need coaching to view cleaning as “a specific solution to a specific problem.” There isn’t one catch-all FuelsMarketNews.com
Clean Drives Business Growth
product to take care of all the many cleaning challenges in the forecourt. C-store employees need to learn to identify specific problem areas and know which cleaning product to grab. This is where properly implemented training brings high value—as the wrong product selection means wasted supply dollars and labor. C-stores often benefit from having a cleaning “program” with posters or other types of documentation that connect the problem areas with the specific chemical on the shelf. 3. SET SITE STANDARDS AND BUILD IN ACCOUNTABILITY. In today’s c-store, most task management and training focus on activities like running the register or stocking products, while proper procedures for cleaning get overlooked. Pride rides and mystery shops are great tools to maintain site standards, but what about all the time in between? There’s a saying—what my boss finds interesting, I find fascinating. Bar none, the best way to get clerk-level buy-in is for operations management at the district and division level to let it be known, loud and clear, that cleanliness is not just important to the customers, but it is very important to management as well. They need to set the expectation early and often on cleanliness. Best-in-class operators make cleanliness an everyday priority with budgeted labor hours, checklists, cleaning champions and management site walks. 4. OPTIMIZE LABOR WITH TRAINING. It may seem rudimentary to go over proper use of cleaning products; FuelsMarketNews.com
however, cleaning dispensers, oil stains and responding to fuel spills isn’t something employees learn at home. Furthermore, about 80% of the cost of cleaning is labor. Effective and repeated training is the best way to lower the cost of cleaning. We have found that chunking cleaning tasks into bite-size pieces, as well as providing a time expectation of how long the task will take, is highly effective in reducing labor hours spent cleaning. These tips come in extremely handy when staff shortages happen. Let’s face it, training on how to clean isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but you can make it relevant by teaching employees why it’s important to the business. To meet c-store online training needs CAF created CAF Academy—adaptable interactive training that can be added to virtually any platform. Our immersive demonstration videos include short, interactive modules that check for understanding. Leverage computer-based learning to minimize the impact and toll of high industry employee turnover on store managers. 5. SELECT A CLEANING PARTNER—NOT JUST A CLEANING PRODUCT. If you go into the back room at a c-store you won’t find a shortage of cleaning products. Many products have probably been there for years, unused. Even the best cleaning products fail to get the job done when they aren’t used. Training, accountability and a comprehensive cleaning program are critical. A partner should provide operational support for all three items.
An unkempt forecourt gives the impression interior cleanliness will also be lacking, which in turn, prevents more sales inside.
Mike G. Zahajko is the executive vice president, sales, for CAF. CAF is a leader in outdoor cleaning and c-store image solutions. For more about CAF, visit www.mycaf.com.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 17
Beyond Bright Lights Engage all senses to attract vehicle wash customers. BY MARK TENTIS
hen it comes to identifying and deploying exciting and innovative new ways to attract drivers to their sites, vehicle wash operators have seen the “light.” Namely, they are utilizing the latest in exterior, interior and arch display lighting, along with sound-reproduction technologies, to create a visually and aurally attractive wash experience. In fact, analysis of vehicle wash through-rate patterns indicates that offering an engaging and memorable wash experience can increase customer loyalty by as much as 20%, with loyal customers 86% more likely to spend more for a brand they are loyal to. While the advances in lighting and sound technology have been an undeniable boon to wash operators as they look to expand their customer base 18 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
while keeping existing customers engaged, an optimized sight-andsound experience is just one arrow in a marketing quiver that can go well beyond the five senses. KEEP THE FIVE ALIVE Operators would be wise to fully target all five senses to increase traffic at their vehicle wash sites. Sight: The first goal is to get that driver to decide to enter the wash site. The site must be well lit with engaging signage with color and movement that catches the eye, a clean appearance and nice landscaping. Make sure that the driveway is well maintained, with no trash on the ground. If the wash is a manned tunnel, outfit employees in sharp, clean uniforms, and train them to be attentive and engaging with a controlled sense of
urgency without rushing. The interior of the wash must be inviting and uncluttered, easy to enter with a feeling of openness that can be enhanced through effective overhead and sidewall lighting. In other words, do not store nonessential or unrelated equipment in a murky, dingy wash bay. Sound: The trick to ensuring that ambient noise is not off-putting to vehicle occupants is to design the wash bay so that the level and shape of the noise will be nonoffensive. Some operators pipe in popular music, while others use tranquil sounds at a decibel level that still allows people inside the vehicle to engage in conversations or conduct phone calls. While it’s true that some inherent wash sounds just can’t be overcome, the other senses can be targeted during the wash process so that attention is diverted from the sound of the wash equipment and dryers. Smell: A bad smell that enters the vehicle cabin during the wash process creates a negative overall experience FuelsMarketNews.com
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Offering an engaging and memorable wash experience can increase customer loyalty by as much as 20%. for the driver, which can affect future wash buying decisions. It is imperative that wash bays are kept presentable via a regular cleaning schedule, while dirty wash water is routinely reclaimed or disposed of so that it does not sit in the pit and become “funky.” Positive smells can also be created by pretreating wash water or by using scented wash chemicals and waxes. Research has shown that different scents will evoke different feelings in vehicle passengers; for example, lemon will evoke cleanliness, while lavender produces a sense of calm. Touch: Vehicles are large investments that must be treated carefully, so drivers must be convinced before they even enter the wash bay that there is little to no risk of damage occurring as their vehicles are touched during the wash process. This requires the wash equipment to be properly and regularly maintained so that it will reliably deliver a gentle and damage-free wash. Operators can be proactive in allaying any fears of damage occurring by posting educational pieces on the damage control capabilities of the wash system on the wash’s website, via social media posts and through flyers available at the wash entrance or inside the store. • Taste: Umm, what? No, we’re not saying that vehicle occupants will 20 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
want to physically “taste” the wash process, but that process can tap into a “taste” for a snack, which will help drive business to an attached c-store. Use incentives to get people to stop in for an impulse buy or to refuel. Many operators have found success by offering a free coffee, soft drink or candy bar with a wash, or 10, 15 or 20 cents off per gallon of gasoline. BEYOND THE BIG FIVE In addition to the five tangible senses that everyone is familiar with, there are other more nebulous “senses” that can be manipulated to improve vehicle wash traffic: a sense of positivity, value, accomplishment and community come to mind. The most significant of these is the overall positive feeling a good wash experience will leave with the customer, buttressed by the perception that they received good value for their money. These are lasting impressions that will prompt the driver to return in the future, resulting in a growing and loyal customer base. Satisfied customers can also be the wash’s best spokespeople, with positive word of mouth playing a critical role in communicating the benefits of the wash to a wider range of drivers. The post-wash experience can be just as important as the actual wash-bay experience. Consumers, inevitably, FuelsMarketNews.com
People are programmed to support businesses that have the same commitment to local causes that they do.
Mark Tentis is the vice president of global sales for OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions and can be reached at email@example.com. For more information on OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions, please visit www.opwvws.com.
22 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
may post some bad reviews. In these instances, wash operators should not shy away or ignore them. Use them as educational tools that help give a well-rounded view of the wash and how it is operating. If a preponderance of reviews indicates that something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to reassess and make changes, or even eliminate it; being stubbornly married to a bad idea can be as bad or worse than having no ideas at all. And, if time allows, try to respond to every comment or review, with those that had a positive experience having their feelings reinforced, while those with a complaint will be placated and may even be more prone to give the wash a second chance. This will create a sense among drivers that the operators care about them and their feelings and
will work to build on the positive and alleviate the negative. Finally, creating a sense of community can be a strong bonding agent. Let the town or region in which you operate know that your customers are more than just sources of income. Sponsor youth sports teams, host a charity vehicle wash day, contribute to fundraisers, participate in job fairs, etc. People are programmed to support businesses that have the same commitment to local causes that they do. You can also embrace the local business community by joining the Chamber of Commerce or other business-centric organizations. Successful businesses do not operate in a self-contained bubble. Talk to other businesspeople in the area about their successes and failures. FuelsMarketNews.com
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Who’s Going to Haul Your Fuel? A shortage of bulk tanker drivers has carriers tapping into a more diverse talent pool. BY STEPHEN BENNETT
hat’s to be done about the driver shortage? Yes, pay and benefits are receiving renewed attention and emphasis, but fuel marketers, and the trucking industry as a whole, are also busily trying to appeal to a younger, more diverse demographic with a message about quality of work life as part of their campaign to shore up the driving ranks. Driver turnover, chronic for years, is exacerbated by today’s shortage of drivers. Individual companies, trade groups and legislators are working to address the challenge, in part through a bill that would allow younger drivers to operate across state lines. 24 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
There are about 63,000 truck-driving jobs in the bulk tanker market that are vacant today, according to research and consulting firm Beroe Inc., based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fuel-tanker truck procurement trends show that large carriers compete with the small and mid-size companies for truck drivers, who pay higher than the industry standards, according to Beroe. Carriers that haul motor fuels and other petroleum products, as well as carriers of all kinds, are trying a variety of ways to draw people to the driving occupation. Kenan Advantage Group, North Canton, Ohio, posted this recruitment message on its website this summer:
“You are invited! Visit us July 12-15 in Memphis to see what we can offer you as a Professional Driver on our Team! $10,000 sign on bonus for offers made by July 14!” Pilot Co., seeking at one point to fill more than 300 positions in fuel, DEF and crude oil transport, highlighted quality of work life to potential applicants, pointing out that its drivers “are home more often and proud of the work they do.” Jordan Spradling, vice president of transportation for Pilot, emailing an update in July, said, “We prioritize taking care of our team members with competitive pay and excellent benefits.” Spradling noted that the company recently celebrated Daniel Abshire, who passed the 40-year mark working for Pilot, by presenting him with a custom made Peterbilt. Abshire’s father had a 40-plus year career with Pilot as well. “This summer we have attracted more drivers to our fleet who, like Daniel and his father, are looking for a career. We are currently in a busy summer travel season and have seen an increase in traffic over last year. However, we don’t anticipate any fuel shortages at our travel centers FuelsMarketNews.com
across the country. Our strong supply chain and fleet of drivers are essential to ensuring the availability of fuel at our stores.” Spradling also noted, “there is still opportunity for more than 175 fuel drivers to join our team.” Before it was sold to 7-Eleven in May, Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway Transport Operations announced that it was hiring 100 drivers over 100 days to fill full- and part-time delivery driving positions in the Southeast United States. “Speedway Transport Operations will provide and pay for a fuel delivery driver training program for drivers with Class A commercial driver’s license and hazmat and tanker endorsements,” the company said. “If drivers with one or more years of fuel delivery experience meet Speedway Transport Operations qualifications, they will receive an additional bonus. Benefits are available immediately upon hire for full-time Speedway Transport Operations employees.” Health, dental and vision coverage, paid time off (sick, vacation and holiday pay) “are all options to select for drivers and their families,” the company said. “Drivers can build a career with weekly pay, safety bonuses (quarterly and annual), referral bonuses, 401(k) with company match and tuition reimbursement.” After the sale to 7 Eleven, Marathon Petroleum still has transport truck operations, and so it continues to recruit and retain drivers. “We utilize both proprietary and third-party fleets and continually work to identify ways to best optimize those resources,” said Jamal T. Kheiry, communications manager for Marathon. In its fleet, there are about 550 transports, with over 1,100 drivers who provide service coast to coast, Kheiry said. “We are competing in the same labor market as other companies looking for experienced drivers.” FuelsMarketNews.com
WORK-LIFE BALANCE Competition is intense. “Generally speaking, drivers have more opportunities than they’ve ever had,” Kheiry said. “Our industry specifically has additional regulations,” he said, noting that drivers must have hazmat or tanker endorsements. “Given the scale of our fleet, we have had, and continue to have, a wide range of efforts under way to recruit experienced drivers,” Kheiry said. “We offer very attractive benefits and wages, an employee referral bonus, sign-on bonus and other pay incentives.” Keeping in mind that word of mouth can be as potent a recruiting tool as any, some employers and trade associations are focusing on making drivers’ working environment, company-wide culture and work-life balance as appealing as they can. “Without question, our best recruiters are our drivers,” Steve Rush, founder and CEO of Carbon Express, said. “They want the same thing now that they wanted in 1965 when I first began. They want to get paid. They want to be respected. And they want to go home. Hasn’t changed one bit in 55 years.” Carbon Express, which hauls motor oil among other products, and is based in Wharton, New Jersey, has a dedicated run from Louisville to Kitchener, Ontario, five times weekly. One way, the trip is about 540 miles and can take close to nine hours. Rush wanted the two drivers on the run to be able to go home each night. “So instead of hiring at the ends, I hired in the middle,” he said. “One guy goes and gets it. The other guy takes it to where it’s going.”
There are about 63,000 truck-driving jobs in the bulk tanker market that are vacant today.
REGULATORY RELIEF The average age of a truck driver is 49, seven years older than that of the typical U.S. worker, American Trucking Associations President and FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 25
Workforce Act (S. 469) in his testimony. According to the bill, women currently make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, but they make up less than 7% of truck drivers. “Through the establishment of a Women of Trucking Advisory Board under the leadership of the FMCSA, this legislation will bring greater attention to the recruitment, retention, training and mentorship of women in the trucking industry,” Spear said. Another study has placed the percentage of women drivers at about 10%.
Without question, our best recruiters are our drivers.
26 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
CEO Chris Spear said. “To stem the growing driver shortage immediately, we urge Congress to consider proposals to remove obsolete regulatory barriers that prevent trucking from replenishing its aging workforce with younger, qualified workers who have received the appropriate training and experience required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV),” Spear told the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. Although 49 states and the District of Columbia allow 18 to 20 year-olds to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce, federal law prevents them driving across state lines, Spear pointed out in testimony before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, during a May 11 hearing. ATA supports the DRIVE Safe Act (S.659) as “the most effective and safety-focused solution to the trucking industry’s dire workforce dilemma,” Spear said. He also cited legislation called the Promoting Women in Trucking
RECRUITING WOMEN Asked how she rates the industry’s recruitment of women to drive, Ellen Voie, president of Women In Trucking, based in Plover, Wisconsin, said, “The industry is doing a better job, but when I started Women In Trucking in 2007, people didn’t even track what percentage of their driving fleet was female. And the carriers would just say to me, ‘Oh, we just hire the best person.’ And my response to them was, ‘Oh really? Well, how come your uniforms are all made for men? How come the trucks are designed for men? How come you don’t even have restrooms for women in your terminals?’” Data compiled by the American Transportation Research Institute, among others, show that women as a group excel as truck drivers, Voie said. “Women are safer drivers, women stay with their carriers longer, there’s less turnover, they’re happier with their income, and so now the industry’s like, ‘Oh wow, this is great—bring us more women!’” Voie said. Still, she added, “It’s a double-edged sword. We want to bring more women in, but we have to make sure the industry is accommodating and values women. One of the issues that we are really focusing on now is the safety of female drivers. It’s a higher priority for women.” Carriers can improve safety of women on the job through excellent equipment maintenance that reduces the chance of breakdowns. “Nobody wants to be broken FuelsMarketNews.com
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We want to bring more women in, but we have to make sure the industry is accommodating and values women.
1 28Half| Horz.indd FMN Magazine FALL 2021
down on the side of the road. And that’s [true] for women and men,” Voie said. The overall safety culture of a company is another critical consideration. “Where are you sending your drivers?” Voie said. “Are you sending them to a bad part of town that’s dimly lit? To a crime-ridden area? “If the driver says, ‘There’s a snowstorm coming, I want to pull over’—what’s the company’s reaction?” Voie asked. “If they say, ‘Absolutely. It’s up to you to make those decisions’— that’s the kind of company you want.” Women In Trucking works with truck stop operators on safety and security, lighting, fencing—making sure that all drivers are safe, not just females, Voie said. “We also have self-defense, self-esteem experts talk at our events about how to carry yourself, situational awareness,” Voie said.
The group publishes an anti-harassment employment guide, available to members upon request. It addresses everyday situations in trucking and what to do in cases of inappropriate— or worse—behavior. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is conducting a study of crimes against female and minority drivers, Voie said. “We’re looking forward to getting those results, to see where crimes against drivers are taking place. In anticipation of that study, we’re doing our own survey with members— asking female drivers where they feel least safe. Is it at a loading dock, is it at a customer’s, is it in a training situation?” Dr. Kim Riddle, assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Allied Health at Western Kentucky University, who researches sexual harassment, said, “Women don’t want to go to work and
6/25/2020 11:21:31 AM FuelsMarketNews.com
feel like it’s a burden to be there, or that it’s a bad thing to be there.” To decrease the odds of that, Riddle suggested, companies can ramp up their training in sexual harassment awareness, especially during orientation. “And then once a year, companies need to reiterate that training,” she said. DIVERSITY EFFORTS CarriersEdge, a company in Newmarket, Ontario, is working with Women In Trucking on a diversity inclusion index (www.witindex.org). CarriersEdge operates a program called “Best Fleets” (www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com), which includes a survey, evaluation and recognition of carriers across North America. Carriers must be nominated by one of their drivers. CarriersEdge works with more than 4,000 carriers, and the Best Fleets
program (www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com) was launched in 2009, “so we have a lot data and insight into what the leading companies are doing to not only get, which is secondary, but more appropriately, keep their drivers,” said Chris Henry, vice president of customer experience and recognitions programs. Some carriers are working to connect with a broader range of ethnic and other communities to increase driver diversity. “In some of our carriers there’s a very high percentage of transgender individuals operating as drivers. It has definitely grown,” Henry said. “I know that we have quite a few drivers who identify all along the LGBTQ+ spectrum who have been with us for many years, but we did not target them directly or use any unique messaging,” Vadim Komarov, director of marketing for ShipEX, said via email.
Stephen Bennett is an editor and reporter specializing in the fuel and transportation industries.
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7/2/20202021 3:43:07 PM FMN Magazine FALL | 29
Choosing the Right Loading-Arm System A lot of time, thought and effort is needed when identifying a solution that optimizes terminal operations. BY DAVID MORROW
armony is the key to the successful design of a loadingarm system. However, achieving that perfect harmony—where all components work seamlessly in a system that is efficient, easy to operate and safe for the user— takes a great deal of time, due diligence and native knowledge. It’s simply not just a case of choosing a loading-arm system, it is a case of choosing the “right” loading-arm system. 30 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
While all facilities that load and unload railcars and tank trucks (storage terminals, chemical plants, refineries, etc.) serve the same basic function— facilitating the arrival, storage and departure of various liquids via various forms of transportation—each one is unique in its operational design and setup. This means that the ones that are truly able to achieve and maintain elevated levels of efficiency, reliability, safety and ergonomic operation are
those that have managers who put in the hard hours to determine the best loading-arm system to deploy. Only when the site manager fully understands the idiosyncrasies built into their product-loading and unloading operation will they be able to outfit the site with a system that meets all of the operation’s specific needs. In general, there are three variables that must be considered before selecting the loading-arm system that will be designed for the site. They are: • The Site: It’s a cliché, but it’s tried and true. The “location, location, location” of the loading racks will be the main determining factor in which type of loading arms can be used, along with where all the ancillary equipment and structures will be positioned. After determining the number of loading positions, the system designer must choose the best spot for the risers, which are the FuelsMarketNews.com
foundation of the system. If several arms are to be used, all risers must be located so that they do not interfere with the operation of the other arms. The arms must be positioned so that they can move up, over and around any possible obstructions, from light poles, support columns and power lines to meters, gangways and safety cages, as well as fit under a roof if it is a covered application. Loading arms can be heavy, so proper structural support must also be built into the system design, with improperly supported arms being difficult to move and potentially dangerous for the operator to handle. • The Product: The specific facility’s commodity “menu” can feature a wide range of diverse products, all of which have different handling characteristics. Liquids with water-like viscosities will need to be handled differently than those with the consistency of molasses, while hazardous or corrosive liquids need to be transferred through equipment that is compatible with their volatile nature. Some liquids will also thicken, crystallize or even freeze as ambient temperatures change, which may also create a need for a heat-tracing system or steam jackets. Finally, with throughput rates being the heartbeat of the terminal operation, the loading-arm system must be able to reliably produce desired flow rates, which goes hand-in-hand in determining the actual size of the piping needed. • Transport: The design and setup of the facility will pre-determine the method of loading and unloading, FuelsMarketNews.com
either bottom or top, to be used. Bottom loading is the preferred method for petroleum products because trucks are standardized. It is good practice to walk through the entire loading/unloading process to determine what an ideal process looks like. Bottom-loading connections are easier to perform, and if the transport has several compartments, overall loading/unloading time will be reduced. In the instances where top loading is used, the loading system must have enough horizontal range so that the arms can reach the farthest compartment without needing to respot the vehicle; the system must make mis-spotting a rare occurrence as any need to relocate the railcar or transport truck means lost loading/ unloading time. The facility operator must also consider how the product will be toploaded, either splash-filled through an open manway or through a hard connection. If hard connections will be used, the operator has many options available: hard or soft connection, quick- or dry-disconnect technology and whether any valving will be needed. Finally, a level-detection system is normally recommended as a secondary shutoff that reliably indicates when the loading process is complete. Overfills lead to spills and unsafe working conditions, with the potential to do harm to the environment and surrounding communities if the spilled substance is hazardous or dangerous. Some final general considerations that must also be taken into account include whether or not special non-destructive testing of the loading-arm equipment
The ‘location, location, location’ of the loading racks will be the main determining factor in which type of loading arms can be used, along with where all the ancillary equipment and structures will be positioned.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 31
With throughput rates being the heartbeat of the terminal operation, the loading-arm system must be able to reliably produce desired flow rates.
David Morrow is director of product management for OPW Engineered Systems, Lebanon, Ohio, part of Dover Corporation’s OPW division. He can be reached at (800) 547-9393 or David. Morrow@opwglobal.com. For more information, visit www.opw-es.com.
32 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
is required; are any special welding procedures needed; is insulation designed to protect the operator from handling hot piping required; will any additional weight be added to the loading arms after installation; and will there be any need for connections to aid in venting or blowing down product from the arm at the end of the loading/ unloading process? FROM THE FIELD Now that we know what to look for when designing a loading-arm system, let’s look at a recent application that took all of those variables into account and resulted in a new, more efficient loading/unloading process at a petroleum-product storage terminal. The high-volume bottom-loading terminal in Kentucky was originally built in the 1970s but had undergone a number of “on-the-fly” upgrades, expansions and reconfigurations to its truck-loading lanes. The system had grown to consist of a hodgepodge of components cumbersome to operate due to poorly spaced and incompatible arms. This led to loading inefficiencies, while putting increased strain on the drivers via the non-ergonomic system design. In the search for a solution, the terminal operator and his loading-arm system provider determined that the biggest issue was the fact the loading arms did not effectively cross over one another. This meant that it had become difficult for the drivers to access the required arm without needing to move other arms out of the way first, or to load more than one compartment at a time. So, a new layout design that incorporated the ideal spacing and staggering of the arm mounts was created featuring short-range hose loaders that allow
simultaneous connecting to and filling of up to three product lines. They are generally stored horizontally with only slight upward or downward movement required to align the coupler with the truck adaptor. Additionally, dry-break API couplers with the ability to ensure reliable and easy connection to a tank truck or railcar were added. New mounting risers for the truck lanes were spec’d and designed to enable the loading arms to be installed in the optimal mounting configuration. Today, the redesigned loading system has arms that cross over and clear one another, which allows easy access to the desired arm and the ability to quickly and efficiently load multiple compartments at once. The arms are also more ergonomic in that they store and balance at roughly the same height as the truck adaptors. This means that little effort or strain is required from the drivers in order to connect and disconnect the arms to the truck adaptors and return the arms to their storage position when the loading process is complete. Finally, with all of the new system’s components sourced from the same supplier, it is easier to order, stock and track spare and replacement parts. All of this took just six weeks from purchase order to installation. It should be obvious: If a storage terminal’s loading-arm system is to be in harmony, it must be designed with the needs of the site layout itself, as well as those of the individual components, in mind. It’s much easier to find that harmonious balance if all loading-arm system components are sourced from the same supplier, one that has many years of experience designing and engineering systems that meet the needs of every unique installation. FuelsMarketNews.com
Do your homework on the potential customers you want to target. BY JOHN KIMMEL
f you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” That quote was made famous by Benjamin Franklin, and it is just as true today as it was over two hundred years ago. Almost everyone has heard those words and knows they are true. Unfortunately, business owners and professional salespeople largely ignore them, at least when it comes to finding and landing great new accounts. I ride with fuel and lubricant salespeople nearly every week, and almost without fail as we are driving from account to account I will hear something like this, “Hey, I saw a new place down the street, and since you want me to do some cold calls, let’s go see them.” In other words, they identify potential new accounts as they drive around town, literally see them as they pass by, and their plan to land them is to walk in and wing it and see what happens. When I started selling back in the ‘80s, I would roll into a new town and grab the Yellow Pages from a phone booth to see who was in town, mark them on a paper map and then go see them in a route that made sense based on their locations. That was considered forward thinking back then as most reps just drove around town, looking for possible accounts. By the way, for those of you who are too young to know what a phone booth is, I am sure you can Google it. And yes, before you had GPS to get you from place 34 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
to place, there were city maps printed on paper, and salespeople always had a stack of them in the car. So here we are over 30 years later, and most of the reps I ride with (in the beginning of an engagement) are still not even prospecting up to “Yellow Pages” standards, so let’s talk about what it takes to really do this well. First, you need to ask yourself a series of questions to determine what type of potential customers you need to target. • W hich sectors (like dealer, PCMO or industrial) have the most profit? • W hich sectors have the most potential volume? • W hich sectors are you most likely to be successful in and why? • W hich sectors are you least likely to be successful in and why? • W hich sector are you going to target first? • W hich geographic area are you going to target first? Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to determine some specific companies that make sense for you to pursue based on the information you gathered above. This usually involves a search engine, association membership lists and other resources that contain the information on the companies you are looking for. Once that is done you have a new set of questions to ask yourself.
Only now, after you have answered all these questions, can you create a call plan that includes a customer-specific introduction, set of questions to ask, specific goals to achieve on the call and a plan to overcome the objections you are most likely to encounter with that type of customer. Creating a plan to find and land great new customers will not only dramatically increase your close rate but also save you time. No more missing great potential accounts that are not located on the main streets in town. No more calling on the easy to find accounts that are not the best fit for your service. No more low-profit accounts that every petroleum marketer in the area calls on. Focus on the best prospects for your organization, and you, your team and your customers will be glad that you did. John J. Kimmel is the author of “Selling with Power” and has spoken for many state and regional petroleum marketer associations. Kimmel provides custom solutions to increase the effectiveness and profitability of sales teams for petroleum marketers all over the United States. To learn more, visit www.johnjkimmel.com.
PHOTO©ISTOCK/ TSIKHAN KUPREVICH
Finding and Landing Great New Accounts
• What products do they likely buy? • What brand do they likely buy? • How much volume do they likely buy? • Who do they probably buy from now? • Why do they buy from that company? • Why would they switch? Once those questions are answered, your focus needs to shift from the company you are targeting to the actual person you need to talk to. For that, we have a new set of questions. • W hat are the titles of the decision maker for that type of organization? •W hat are the titles of the gatekeepers and/or influencers for that type of organization? • How will you identify and contact the decision makers, gate keepers and influencers? (Hint: This is a great place to leverage social media like LinkedIn.)
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he electric vehicle buzz is inescapable. From international political centers to state governments, there seems to be a rush to not only work toward low-carbon goals but to ban internal combustion engine vehicles. Numerous automobile manufacturers have announced an EV-heavy to EV-exclusive vehicle strategy, with aggressive timelines. Even “oil majors” are rushing to deploy electric charging solutions—and not just at their traditional stations. Shell, for example, is looking to provide charging from the home to the street curb to “stations of the future” that resemble large, EV-focused travel plazas. So, what’s driving this push? Low carbon has seemingly been replaced, at least for now, by netzero carbon. While this may be more aspirational than practical (depending on the mechanism used to balance out the “net” portion), it is driving a range of initiatives. And it has pushed EVs to the forefront of transportation’s environmental focus. “There is the belief that we must take dramatic measures to reduce carbon emissions from transportation to prevent human influence on climate change,” said John Eichberger, Fuels Institute executive director. “Corporations are getting tons of pressure from investors that have tangible environmental, social and governance (ESG) plans to reduce carbon from the transportation space. They are getting pressure from their boards. And the governments are saying that this is what you must do to satisfy our interests. And so, they’re pushing it, and they hope to make money from it.” FuelsMarketNews.com
Leading fuels-focused groups see alternative fuels as key players in a net-zero environment. BY KEITH REID
This also seems to be driving one upmanship in both the corporate and political spheres. On a more practical note, automakers have realized that as EV technology matures, the cost to produce a car is going to be less because, as a recent Bloomberg article noted, EVs require one-quarter fewer employees to manufacture. Meanwhile, the traditional fuels industry prefers that carbon goals be met with as many effective options as possible, including environmentally appropriate liquid fuels and gas products. This approach goes beyond supporting traditional member needs—it appears far more practical as well. EVs will certainly achieve notable market penetration as the years pass, with estimates from Bloomberg that 27% of vehicles on the road in 2040 will be EVs. However, an EV-dominant transportation policy beyond that in either scope or timeframe is enormously challenging. EVs themselves are not environmentally pure, from the production of the batteries to the sources of electric generation to charge them. Nor have consumers or fleet operators had a full say in the technology, as the accompanying functional and financial impacts and cultural shifts have yet to materialize in direct, real-world ways. With that in mind, here is how some of the leading fuels-focused organizations see their solutions’ place at the table in a technology-neutral, low-carbon environment. We excluded hydrogen for this go-around, as that fuel is seen as aligning with EVs for the commercial side. FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 37
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE Focus: Oil and natural gas industry Federal and state-level policy proposals promoting electric vehicles are an increasingly popular approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. transportation, but these one-size-fits-all potential solutions may have unintended consequences for U.S. consumers and global climate progress. Internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) are about 99% cleaner for most tailpipe emissions compared to vehicles in 1970, and studies show that ICEVs and EVs produce comparable emissions on a life-cycle basis. Collectively, our members have worked with automakers and invested billions of dollars to make fuels cleaner. Over the past few decades, improvements to ICEVs have contributed to carbon dioxide emissions reductions from the transportation sector, and the fuel economy of new vehicles has increased 29% since 2004. There continues to be room for major improvements to ICEV efficiency for years to come. As the energy and transportation sectors continue to innovate, consumers must continue to be able to choose the vehicles that meet their range, flexibility and cargo capacity needs—and policymakers should avoid interventions that disrupt the marketplace in ways that are unfair and unhelpful. Our shared goals for environmental progress can be best achieved through free markets as opposed to market-distorting mandates, subsidies or the imposition of unrealistic emissions or sales targets. There is room on U.S. roadways for every type of powertrain, including EVs, to help achieve common societal goals, but the cost of mandating or subsidizing EVs and their supporting charging infrastructure should not be passed along to everyday taxpayers and consumers who may not want to use the technology.
RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION Focus: Ethanol producers and distributors Ethanol can and should play a central role in the effort to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and net-zero ethanol is on the way. According to a recent life-cycle analysis, the Renewable Fuel Standard has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 980 million metric tons since 2008. These GHG 38 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
reductions are due to the greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels. The Biden Administration has made it clear that low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol have a role to play, and we’ve seen support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in several ways, especially with its attitude toward the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and small refinery exemptions. The fact that the EPA switched its position on the 10th Circuit Court decision limiting small refinery exemptions is telling, as well as its commitment to more transparency in the waiver process. Likewise, President Biden’s plan for re-entering the Paris Agreement includes low-carbon renewable fuels as a strategy for helping to achieve a 50-52% economy-wide reduction in net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. On the policy side, we work across party lines to promote legislation that recognizes the important role low-carbon ethanol can play in a net-zero future. We see the RFS as the one existing framework that has done the best in reducing GHG emissions, and we were the lead petitioner in the 10th Circuit decision against the EPA to ensure the RFS would be protected from wholesale exemptions. Above and beyond the RFS, we have supported a proposed low-carbon fuel standard, like the one that has been in place in California for 10 years. On the research side, the Renewable Fuels Association has supported research like the study noted above, tracking ethanol’s GHG reductions since the RFS was first implemented.
DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM Focus: Clean diesel engines, fuel and technology Diesel is the most energy efficient internal combustion engine, and it is the dominant technology powering more than a dozen sectors of the global economy. Simply by replacing older diesel technology—particularly pre-2011 model year heavy-duty on-highway trucks—with newer diesel technology is yielding substantial environmental benefits. Recent Diesel Technology Forum research shows that new technology commercial diesel trucks on the road from 2007 through 2020 reduced CO2 by 202 million tons, NOx by 27 million tons and diesel consumption by 19.8 billion gallons. Last year, 500,000 new commercial trucks went into operation with the majority being diesel powered. Today 49% of all commercial trucks in operation are the newest, most fuel efficient and lowest emitting diesel trucks available. FuelsMarketNews.com
Further, the use of biobased diesel fuels, which include biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel, can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, as is proven in California, where biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel used in diesel vehicles reduced more than three times the GHG emissions as did electric vehicles. Research also shows that in 11 Northeastern states, a switch to using biodiesel or renewable diesel fuels would reduce between three and 17 times as much GHG emissions as the planned introduction and uptake of zero-emissions trucks from 2020–30. Vehicle manufacturers—both light and heavy duty—are fully embracing a zero-emissions future and are working to put in place the right mix of policies and incentives to boost the development of new fuels and technologies and incentives for customers. This means the market share for diesel technologies in the future will probably be declining in some sectors but remain dominant in others. It is also important to highlight the forecasts showing that, in our case, diesel will continue to be the dominant technology in heavy-duty trucks for at least the next two decades. That is why continued investments in diesel technology will occur and are critical to delivering sustained clean air progress. We need to approach solving this climate change challenge as one that is so big and complex that it will take many solutions, and that includes gas and diesel improving and continuing to be part of the mix, along with renewable fuels and future technologies as they come online.
NATIONAL BIODIESEL BOARD Focus: Biodiesel producers and distributors Made from a variety of sources such as oilseed co-products, animal fats and recycled cooking oil, biodiesel and renewable diesel are some of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly fuels on the planet. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrates that the fuels reduce carbon emissions by an average of 74%. While reducing GHG helps us with our long-term climate goals, another recent study conducted by Trinity Consultants looked at the health benefits of switching to 100% biodiesel in the transportation and home heating oil sectors for 13 U.S. communities. The study found switching to biodiesel would lead to 340 fewer premature deaths, 46,000 fewer sick days and $3 billion in avoided health-care FuelsMarketNews.com
The traditional fuels industry prefers that carbon goals be met with as many effective options as possible. costs. Since the study examined the effect on just 13 communities, the results are truly the tip of the iceberg. The conversation in Washington, D.C., and in statehouses is focused on reducing carbon emissions, and we continue to spread the word about the benefits of biodiesel and renewable diesel. We want policymakers to understand that our homegrown fuels are a drop-in solution that lower carbon today—not years or decades from now. And, at the same time, our fuels support domestic fuel security and are creating thousands of U.S. jobs. As the national trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, we have a multiprong approach to educate the public and policymakers on the benefits our fuels offer. Our federal affairs team is in close contact with congressmembers and their staff, as well as regulators. Our state team helps to support new fuel standards like the ones passed earlier this year in Washington, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. At the same time, our technical and environmental science teams ensure that we stay on top of the latest industry developments. Most importantly, our members—farmers, fuel producers and others—hail from nearly every U.S. state and help to educate their friends, neighbors and customers about the many benefits of our fuels.
NATIONAL PROPANE GAS ASSOCIATION Focus: Propane retailers and the producers and marketers of propane appliances, equipment and transporters Propane autogas is an affordable fuel playing a critical role in the low-carbon economy. This isn’t in the distant future. Conversions to propane autogas are reducing carbon emissions and preventing the release of smog-causing pollutants today. For example, since converting its Island Explorer tour FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 39
buses to propane autogas two decades ago, Acadia National Park has reduced carbon emissions by 27 tons and prevented the release of 41 tons of pollutants, compared to diesel. To maximize this impact, a propane industry priority is expansion of the propane autogas market. Across the country, school districts use propane autogas buses not just for environmental benefits or a quieter ride but for the affordability. Delivery trucks, police cruisers, paratransit vehicles and ambulances are all frequently fueled by propane autogas. Worldwide, propane autogas fuels 23 million vehicles and is the most prevalent alternative fuel. Wider use of propane autogas is needed to achieve aggressive carbon reduction goals in the United States. Currently, there are nearly 200,000 propane vehicles on American roads, including about 20,000 school buses. By advocating for three critical programs—the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit (ATFC), National Alternative Fuels Corridors (NAFC) and Clean Corridors Program (CCP)—NPGA plans to ramp up the presence of propane autogas vehicles on the road. ATFC is a tax incentive that makes propane autogas more affordable and encourages the longterm adoption of propane autogas vehicles. ATFC will expire at the end of 2021, but NPGA is working to secure a long-term extension to maximize the environmental and economic benefits. NAFC requires signage along highways directing drivers to alternative fuel refueling stations. The CCP is similar, proposing grant funding for alternative refueling and charging stations along the nation’s highways.
NGVAMERICA Focus: Producers, distributors and marketers of natural gas and biomethane Ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty 40 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
natural-gas-powered trucks and buses on our roads today perform at levels that are 95% below the federal NOx standard and 98% below the federal particulate matter standard. When fueled by renewable natural gas recovered from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities and food and agricultural waste digesters, these trucks and buses deliver carbon neutral or carbon negative emissions in even the most specialized real-world applications. The latest data from California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program demonstrates how clean and low carbon these heavy-duty, high-fuel-use vehicles truly are. For the first time ever, last year California fleets fueled with bio-CNG were carbon negative, based on an annual average carbon intensity score of -5.845 gCO2e/MJ. California’s RNG mix is increasingly decarbonizing. According to California Air Resources Board data, the average carbon intensity of bio-CNG sold in California in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone was -26.11, making renewable natural gas the lowest of any in use motor fuel, including fully renewable electric from wind or solar. We believe that climate change is cumulative: The longer we wait, the harder it gets to solve, and no single solution exists that will magically fix everything. A successful green transportation strategy is one that all of America can buy into and from which every American fleet can benefit. Flexibility, commercial availability, scalability and affordability are key. Vehicle emission regulations must be amended to recognize the benefit of combustion vehicles operating on low-carbon fuels. Current regulations make no allowance for the fact that emissions do go down when vehicles are operated on low-carbon fuels. This puts these affordable and clean technologies at a significant disadvantage to vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions but not necessarily zero life-cycle emissions. This is unfair, unwise and must be addressed to provide a level playing field, well-towheel and mine-to-mile. Combating climate change is not an individual sport; we all contribute in some fashion, and policies must ensure that we all can be part of the solution regardless of what we do or where we live. Since fleet needs are not all the same, differing clean powertrains are required for differing realworld applications. Keith Reid is editor-in-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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PUT SCIEN BEHIND YOUR STREET PRICE Mark Truman Chief Revenue Officer Edge Petrol www.edgepetrol.com
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How does fuel pricing software work? Fuel pricing software isn’t new, but the capabilities and possibilities have expanded heavily in the past few years when it comes to data insight. Market consolidation, fluctuating volumes, price volatility and aggressive competition have brought the topic front and center of small-to-medium retailers’ minds. The insight retailers can now access through software is helping them combat these challenges by making more data-inspired decisions on the street price.
What does a retailer gain by moving to price analytics? Put simply, they gain further control of their business. Every retailer uses some form of price analytics already. In the past, small-to-medium-sized retailers particularly have had to use spreadsheets to get data on volume, margin, profit and competitors, which are vital to pricing decisions. These decisions are not optimized, as the data sitting behind them is often after the fact and doesn’t use optimal cost-price methodologies. FuelsMarketNews.com
NCE This can lead to difficulty in setting the best street price. By switching to fuel pricing software, retailers can get accurate insight in real-time, so that they don’t look back at the end of the day, week or month with “bill shock” when the results come in. What can be surprising with price analysis? The most common cost-price methodology is replacement cost (taking today’s price and applying it to all the fuel in the tanks). The first thing retailers notice is the delta between this number and the real cost of product in the tanks (weighted and blended cost). By not considering previous deliveries that have come at varying cost prices, the difference between these two numbers can be anything between 1 cent per gallon (cpgal) and 22 cpgal when the market is really moving. While this is an eye-opener for many retailers, the most surprising thing retailers notice is the difference in profitability between using a true weight-and-blend instead of replacement cost, where EdgePetrol customers have attributed profit growth of 18% to 20%. They have achieved this by using this key data point to price against their competition, only following when they can afford it, moving the market up when they must and deciding on and implementing new strategies that add further profitability to their business. FuelsMarketNews.com
By switching to fuel pricing software, retailers can get accurate insight in real-time, so that they don’t look back at the end of the day, week or month with ‘bill shock’ when the results come in. Which data points should a retailer track? Retailers will already be aware that volume, margin, competition and profit are the most important numbers to consider when making a pricing decision. To really optimize a station or portfolio of stations though, you also need to understand the realtime impact of fleet and credit cards on your margins, as visibility of this is particularly low and can really hurt when the bill comes at the end of the month. To combat this, EdgePetrol offers a real-time net margin on top of the traditional gross margin, which takes into account the cost of accepting these cards as the transaction comes in. What pricing strategies should a retailer consider? Whether or not a retailer is using software, they should be looking at strategies that give them the flexibility they need to push volume and margin, depending on which is important to their business at
the time. The best results we have seen from our users have come from weekend discounts (35% increase in volume), premium grade spread flexibility (20% increase in profit) and testing out your sensitivity versus the competition (18% increase in profit). It’s possible to run these strategies without software, but you’ll need software to reach these numbers. It’s not just these strategies that data can help with. Many small to medium-sized retailers do not have remote price change technology. Being able to see your live price and be alerted when station managers do not implement price changes quickly or correctly can make up huge percentage increases in profit.
This article is brought to you by EdgePetrol.
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LEAD When disaster strikes, the Fuel Relief Fund is a global first responder for critical fuel supply and access challenges.
FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD FUEL RELIEF FUND
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he winds have died down, or the earth has stopped shaking and you step out of shelter into the scene of a disaster. The challenges ahead are overwhelming, but immediate thoughts turn to water, food and … fuel. Lights are out, vehicles are dormant, heating has stopped, water pumps are dry, food supplies need to move and the Fuel Relief Fund (FRF) is there to get the fuel flowing again. FRF is a charitable organization focused exclusively on fuel provisioning in natural disasters and complex emergencies. Leveraging fuel industry and humanitarian sector expertise, FRF manages emergency fuel supply chain in the direst of circumstances when fuel is a critical resource. It operates as both a first responder
in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and as an expert adviser to governments and humanitarian aid agencies preparing for, or responding to, crisis-related fuel challenges. For example, the United Nations has asked FRF to help in writing a global SOP for emergency fuel procurement management, distribution and inventory management security. Disaster responses include: Hurricane Katrina (U.S., 2005); Haiti earthquake (2010); Sendai earthquake and tsunami (Japan, 2011); Van earthquake (Turkey, 2011); Hurricane Sandy (U.S., 2012); Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines, 2013); Ghorka earthquake (Nepal, 2015); Ecuador earthquake (2016); Hurricane Matthew (Haiti, 2016); Hurricane Harvey (U.S., 2017); Hurricane Irma (U.S., 2017); Hurricane
Maria (Puerto Rico, 2017); Hurricane Florence (U.S., 2018); Hurricane Michael (U.S., 2018); Cyclone Idai (Mozambique, 2019); Hurricane Dorian (Bahamas, 2019); Hurricane Laura (U.S., 2020) and Hurricane Ida (U.S., 2021). Sarah Kruger is the executive director of FRF, and Kate Bickford is administrator. Ted Honcharik is FRF’s founder and chairman of the board. He was previously the CEO of Pacific Tank Lines, a nationwide, full-service petroleum carrier. Honcharik began a new venture in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, providing free fuel for disaster-affected communities. He has grown FRF into an organization with global reach and forged impactful partnerships such as those with several United Nations agencies.
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want to try to touch as many people as possible, as soon as possible. And in the United States it’s mainly gasoline and some diesel—we’re always giving away diesel for emergency vehicles and things of that nature, and it’s gasoline for cars so that people can drive to find food, water, shelter, relocate or just to run their generators.
FMN: Could you describe what motivated you to found FRF? Honcharik: I grew up in Miami, Florida, and I had been through a few small hurricanes. I was living in California when Andrew hit Miami, and I couldn’t help much. But I remember flying back there a couple of months later and how everyone was still living off generators and the destruction that occurred to family members and friends. I was with Pacific Tank Lines when Hurricane Katrina happened. My wife and I were watching the news and saw the people in line for fuel. I turned to her, and I said if we could raise enough money to fill up one of our tanker trucks I would meet it in Mississippi. We hit the coastline in Mississippi and Louisiana and moved the truck each day to another strategically hard-hit community and gave away free fuel for vehicles and cans for generators. Hurricane Rita happened right after that, which was in Louisiana and Texas, and we deployed and did it again. It was a wonderful experience. My CFO told me that since I enjoyed doing that so much, why didn’t I turn it into a nonprofit organization? I called a few people in the fuel industry and the California market, and even some competitors, and from there it turned into the organization it is today. FMN: Could you describe some of the services that you provide in a disaster area? Honcharik: It depends on which country we’re responding to and whether it’s a hurricane or typhoon, tsunami or an earthquake. We always 46 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
FMN: What are some of the more exotic fueling requirements? Honcharik: It was freezing in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, and the government asked if we could provide kerosene because many Japanese families stay warm with a portable kerosene heater. They have a five-gallon fuel can because gas stations sell kerosene for that purpose. In Turkey for the  earthquake it was kind of the same situation, but everybody was burning coal to stay warm. So, we were hauling truckloads of 50-pound sacks of coal and distributing them to the elderly and poor families that were not able to stay warm or lacked the funds. In Ecuador following the  earthquake we thought we were going to do gasoline and diesel, then when we arrived, we found out that families mainly cook using propane. We thought that might be quite expensive, but the government subsidizes their propane, and they only pay $2.50 to have 15 gallons of propane delivered. We ended up doing that, and it was a huge success. It provided a family of four or so with heating, cooking and boiling water for a month, and we were able to touch over 100,000 people. FMN: How do you handle the fuel logistics? Honcharik: The key is to acquire the fuel from the closest source possible. So, we’re all-handson-deck trying to contact fuel companies in those surrounding areas as rapidly as possible. We’ve been able to find that fuel within that country at every location. And, since we are giving it away for free, we’re always making sure that hospitals and rescue workers and the large NGOs, like the World Food Program, are covered because they need fuel to deliver their services. Normally, we’re bumped up to first in line even here in the United States when the fuel companies realize that we’re giving away all the fuel we’re purchasing. So, our source for fuel usually is uninterrupted. FuelsMarketNews.com
With Hurricane Dorian [Bahamas], there was no fuel available on the island. So, just prior to it hitting we were already arranging a ship with hundreds of 55-gallon barrels of diesel and gasoline. We flew in before the fuel arrived and were lucky that there was a marina that had been destroyed, but it did have fuel underground. The marina donated all that fuel to us to do what we needed to do with it until our ship arrived. The Dutch military asked how they could help, and we were slinging loaded barrels of fuel from helicopters to outer islands so that the generators could work for those communities as well. FMN: What’s your footprint on the ground in one of these disaster areas? Honcharik: I like to say that there’s no other organization in the world that shows up with a team of four people or less and touches more people. No water, food, shelter or medicine happens in a lot of these disasters until that fuel supply chain is opened up again. As soon as some fuel stations start opening and supply becomes available, we exit. FMN: Some of these areas can be a bit dangerous during the disaster phase. Have you ever faced security concerns? Honcharik: You are always going to face security concerns. You want to make sure that you understand the surroundings. Sometimes the military is supporting us. Sometimes it is the local police. But there’s too much bad press on things that happen negatively in these environments. Normally everybody’s just trying to help everybody else when it’s a natural disaster. When you get into conflict areas, obviously, you have a whole different view, and security plans are put in place before you do anything. FMN: Are there any particularly interesting stories you can share from some of your relief missions? Honcharik: I have so many of them. You would be surprised at how many people just come up crying, hugging you and can’t believe that there’s an organization giving away free fuel in the situation that they’re living in at the moment. We were providing fuel for a generator in Haiti for 100,000 people living in a makeshift location, FuelsMarketNews.com
and the doctor told me I had no idea how many rapes I prevented that night by keeping the lights on. There were two little girls in Ecuador singing to us in Spanish when we were giving away propane: “We have gas, now we can eat.” Just filling up one generator with 500 gallons of diesel, and now a town in the Philippines with 20,000 to 30,000 people has water to drink. The stories are endless. FMN: Where do you get your funding, and how can people participate? Honcharik: They can participate by donating to www.fuelrelieffund.org. Most of our funding has been from our annual golf tournament. Unfortunately, that’s been canceled for the last few years because of COVID. So, we’re definitely in need of donations. When disasters happen, most of the funds that are raised are through our board members reaching out, and Sarah and Kate reaching out through social media. There’s an organization called Global Giving that has helped us with funds over the years. But funding is always the biggest challenge. FMN: What are you up to today? Honcharik: People say, are you happy now that you retired? Do you miss it? Being retired has been very enjoyable. Fuel Relief Fund provides me with enough excitement in life. I just enjoy the hell out of being able to jump when the need arises. And I never know when that might happen. So, it keeps my life exciting. I am very lucky. Keith Reid is editor-in-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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POWER Kendra Keller Vice President and General Manager, North America, Dover Fueling Solutions www.doverfuelingsolutions.com
Describe what DFS is today. Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS) is a technology leader in the fueling industry. We have developed from a durable, reliable, top-tier product manufacturer to a forward-thinking, customer-centric innovator. We recognize the stiff competition fuel retailers face, and our goal is to allow them to focus on what matters most: creating positive customer experiences to increase customer loyalty and drive repeat business.
The fueling industry has not readily embraced technology, but there are ways to help fuel retailers utilize technology to provide an exceptional experience for their customers. A connected, cloud-based solution combined with a large touchscreen experience on the fuel dispenser is one example of embracing digital transformation to increase customer loyalty and drive 48 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
revenue. Digital transformation is here, and we’re meeting our customers where they are to get them where they want to be. At DFS, we are advocates for our customers as we introduce the power of a truly connected business; working with the retail site as a whole, leveraging technology to automate processes and re-committing retailer focus toward customers and driving repeat business. It’s often overlooked for “trendier” features in the tech world, but how important is the automation of maintenance and system reliability monitoring? We would not be able to have fun and innovate around “trendy” features in the tech world if the necessary processes and procedures were not handled first. Functional performance is the top priority for any product being developed or being used in the market today. The greatest compliment we can receive about our automation processes and system monitoring software is to be so reliable that the need is actually forgotten. Bringing the internet of things (IoT) to the fueling industry has unlocked the power of the cloud and fused it with the power of retail connectivity. Automating a wide range of hardware and software processes held to the highest regulatory and security standards is a monumental task. Regulatory pressures come from all angles, and every regulatory audit we can relieve as a partner is another way we provide value to our customers. We’ve prioritized safety and security across many necessary processes at a fueling location, allowing customers FuelsMarketNews.com
Retailers can save time through cloud-based analysis, capturing data points from multiple store locations or multiple locations throughout a store, on one screen. to enjoy the “trendy” features. It is an honor for us to manufacture and service the unsung heroes of fuel retailing. The DFS DX platform unifies a range of operational functions “under one roof.” What is the utility of a platform that encompasses such seemingly divergent functions as wetstock management at one end and targeted advertising and media at the other? Retailers and site owners make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions every single day. The utility of a platform that can centralize the data points required to make those decisions is a business-critical benefit. Retailers can save time through cloud-based analysis, capturing data points from multiple store locations or multiple locations throughout a store, on one screen. Time
saved from commuting between stores or constantly monitoring an entire location is reason enough to invest in comprehensive business platforms. Wetstock management is just as critical as keeping shelves full but is more difficult to monitor without the right tools. Dispenser uptime is the first requirement of customer experience on the forecourt, making operational status updates critical to a positive customer visit. The highest margins are made from in-store sales, meaning promotions must be targeted and timely to influence consumer behavior. If you could control all these facets of a complex business from one screen, wouldn’t you? One of the most valuable assets we have is time, and bringing a comprehensive business view is a key strategy to drive efficiencies to give time back to our customers. How do you balance the needs of a unified platform yet allow the incorporation of valued solutions that might be from different solution providers? Flexibility is important because every store is unique. It is in the customer’s best interest not to limit what we can do for them. With that in mind, we have proactively designed the platforms to work together while allowing
customization and welcoming API integration to incorporate alternate solution providers. Dispenser displays have come a long way from the LED strips that replaced the old mechanical digit counters. Screens have gotten larger, and the Anthem UX platform system features an exceptionally large display. What does that allow for with the customer marketing interface and does that impact vandalism concerns, etc.? The Anthem user experience platform is the industry’s largest screen, bringing 27 inches of selling power to every fueling point. This gives customers what they want the most: choices. From traffic and weather updates to multiple language options to volume and screen contrast options, the goal is to drive repeat business through engaging interactivity. The ability to target promotions based on time of day, day of the week and stage of the fueling process empowers retailers to promote high-margin sales and drive customers inside to increase spend per visit. Fueling is being transformed from a distressed purchase to a fun, engaging experience. The screens themselves are made from tempered glass, which is 4-5 times as strong as annealed glass.
This article is brought to you by Dover Fueling Solutions.
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 49
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ENERGY MOVES BY KEITH REID
The Biden Administration advances climate change, EV infrastructure goals.
ore than halfway into President Joe Biden’s first year in office, the administration is starting to gain some traction on the energy goals Biden outlined during his campaign, but a lack of consensus among Democrats in Congress on the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package threatened to stymie progress on more ambitious projects. Widely expanding the number of electric vehicles in the nation’s fleet is one part of Biden’s plan to lower carbon emissions, and the success in part hinges on the rapid buildout of EV charging infrastructure. The Biden Administration has set a goal of installing 500,000 EV chargers nationwide by 2030. “The administration is really looking at everything, everywhere,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director, government relations. “They’re looking at any federal lands and property where they can put EV chargers. They’re transitioning the federal fleet to EVs. Whether it’s military bases, public lands—anywhere there are a lot of federal employees and parking lots.” Legislation pending in Congress aims to facilitate charger expansion. A rebate program sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) is included in H.R. 3684, and Rep. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) is backing a grant program to incentivize EV charging in underserved and minority communities. The United States in February officially rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change, and in April the administration convened the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, which essentially reconvened the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate, a U.S.-led initiative that was critical to the Paris Agreement. The summit featured 40 world leaders including heads of state and government, as well as leaders and representatives from international organizations, businesses, subnational governments and indigenous communities. The major announcement was that the United States will target reducing emissions 50% to 52% by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels). As noted in a release on the summit: “In the United States, the Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a whole-of-government approach to unleash economic opportunities, create good jobs, and advance environmental justice. From the national to the local level and across all agencies, the federal government is not only working to help those hit hardest by climate impacts, but also creating a more resilient, equitable and prosperous future.” The summit acknowledged that 85% of emissions come from beyond U.S. borders, and domestic action must go hand in hand with international leadership. It was also apparent through the range of proposed initiatives that the United States will be providing significant support for these initiatives not just nationally but globally. The Energy Resource Governance Initiative (EGRI) and the Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program were two action items from the summit that FuelsMarketNews.com
FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 51
EV INFRASTRUCTURE While the administration is pursuing ambitious goals, action on the ground is only now starting to take form. H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, is a bipartisan five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that was passed by the U.S. Senate August 10 and was slated for a vote in the House of Representatives by September 27. H.R. 3684 drew several initial objections from industry associations including NACS and NATSO, the latter group now also handles SIGMA’s legislative efforts. As NACS President and CEO Henry Armour noted in a public statement: “NACS supports infrastructure investments that will leverage private funds and lead to improvements throughout the nation. This bill does the opposite and will depress overall investment in critical new technologies like electric vehicle charging. The policies related to electric vehicle charging put forth in this legislation undermine the necessary business case for EV charging infrastructure, making it more difficult for the private sector to make such investments.” There were several provisions that the industry found objectionable. The first provision, which ultimately failed to make it into the final bill, would have opened the door for EV charging at public rest areas. The industry objections to this are in line with the long-running objections to allowing public rest areas to become commercialized and directly compete with existing retail sites adjacent to highways. It is a familiar battle, and one where the industry typically enjoys considerable support. “Allowing EV charging at rest areas is a big deal,” said Anderson. “California is pushing that primarily, starting with their park-and-ride facilities that are different than rest areas. That motivated the state department of transportation to want to allow for EV charging in rest areas. And they used it in a broader context.” 52 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
The second provision focused on objections to last-minute provisions added by the Energy and Commerce Committee that would have awarded rebates to public utilities, which are also free to use ratepayer (customer) dollars to invest in EV charging stations. This effectively allows them to “double dip” giving the utilities an excessive advantage over private sector investments in EV technology. Currently, in a simplified form, the utility determines the infrastructure, maintenance and operational costs to generate electricity, and the state regulatory board allows them to set rates for their customers based on those costs. That means the costs of developing infrastructure to support EV charging could be added to ratepayer costs for consumer and commercial services if approved by regulatory boards. Industry marketers and retailers, on the other hand, must risk their own resources with no guaranteed return. MAKING CHARGING PAY OFF “There’s a long on-ramp to profitability with respect to EV charging, but that’s fine,” said David Fialkov, NATSO’s executive vice president of government affairs. “It’s not uncommon for marketers to make investments with an expectation that they won’t start making money on them for a while down the road. That has been a problem, but the lack of a viable business model that they can have confidence will result in a return on their investment is the primary hurdle.” Giving the utility sector a leg up on developing the new market, including the retail environment, only adds to that uncertainty and makes the hurdle that much higher. “Assume you’ve got the vehicles consumers actually embrace, and they are comfortable with EV charging,” Anderson said. “The reality is there are still impediments for investing in EV charging, and that’s where we’ve been working. You need to be able to charge for charging and not be regulated like a utility. You need to make sure there’s an even playing field with utilities and other players who want to get into the marketplace and not giving preferential treatment to one business sector over another. Then you’ve got to look at the cost of electricity, so we have a known price to pass those costs along to our customers. We don’t have that ability with electricity, particularly if we’re going to compete against a utility who also wants to get into that space.” While there are industry objections to existing utility customers funding retail-focused EV FuelsMarketNews.com
aim to address significant issues related to EV transportation technology. ERGI is a multinational effort to “help build sustainable supply chains and promote sound sector governance for the minerals vital to technologies powering the energy transition, such as solar panels, electric vehicles, and battery storage.” China currently dominates these markets. The FIRST program would be essential to a true zero-emissions energy policy and focuses on building capacity in partner countries for safe and secure nuclear reactors that are not useful for nuclear weapons proliferation.
developments, that does not mean that there are necessarily objections to utilities taking advantage of such opportunities to enhance the grid required to provide energy to either homes or retail sites to support electrification. “The core competency of the utility sector is to enhance the grid and transmission capacity, distribution and storage,” said Fialkov. “The reason that utilities are regulated is because that model is the most efficient way of providing that service. They should get all the grant money they need to do that. They should be able to charge their ratepayers more money to do that. But that is fundamentally different than owning and operating a charging station and selling transportation energy to a driver.” Obviously, ratepayers might have some thoughts on the issue if their monthly bills see a notable increase. One thing that is becoming readily apparent is just how far the charging infrastructure needs to develop before EV drivers remotely enjoy the same certainties and conveniences associated
with liquid fuel vehicles today. These are important, foundational issues concerning the players who will be providing charging at the various touchpoints from the home to a convenience store or travel plaza, and how that will impact the customer. “The environmental community has a lot of negative things to say about gasoline and diesel,” said Fialkov. “But if you look at the markets where those products are sold, they’re extraordinarily efficient and good for keeping prices low. This is something that one would think the environmental community would be trying to harness and replicate with respect to alternative solutions. And there are ways to do that.” Keith Reid is editor-in-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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DFS LAUNCHES TECHNOLOGY ROADSHOW
Dover Fueling Solutions announced the launch of a Technology Roadshow, an immersive experience exploring ways convenience store retailers can transform how they do business by utilizing next-generation technology. With interactive product demos, retailers can discover the power and possibilities of the DFS DX connected solutions platform, Anthem UX™ user experience platform and more. By bringing the technology directly to customers and the community, DFS is eliminating the distance separating its customers from seeing firsthand the innovative technology they can leverage at their stores. The DFS technology truck will make its way across the United States, with 20 stops around the country in the fall.
EDGEPETROL SIGNS ON AS MAKO VPN CLOUD PARTNER
EdgePetrol has joined the Mako VPN Cloud Partner Program, making it easier for petro/c-store retail customers to connect to EdgePetrol’s fuel pricing services. The software company’s distributed retailers implement Mako Networks SD-WAN technology to ensure reliable and secure network connections. Mako’s VPN Cloud Partner Program allows retail sites to connect seamlessly and reliably to service providers’ applications, providing accessible, always-on reporting and boosting performance at the retailer site level. EdgePetrol uses Mako VPN Cloud technology for direct access to retailers, eliminating file errors due to disconnections and removing the need for a 24/7 connection to a back-office computer. The company works with 20% of the U.K. petro/c-store market, including most of the top 50 independents and major oil companies, and already has several hundred stations signed up in the U.S.
INVENCO AND CENTRAPAY PARTNER
Invenco, a global provider of self-service payment technology and secure customer engagement solutions, has partnered with Centrapay to enable pay-at-pump terminals to accept next-generation payments. Centrapay and Invenco are both New Zealandbased companies with a shared commitment to open 54 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
platform systems which generate increased consumer and retailer opportunities. The integration between Centrapay’s Merchant Payments system and Invenco’s iNFX Retail Microservices enables retail fuel locations to transact using digital currencies including digital wallets, POS/ merchant services, rewards programs and more. The payment network runs on Invenco G6 and G7 pay-at-pump terminals with transactions processing through the Invenco Electronic Payment Server (EPS) retail microservice offering.
RDM OPENS 5TH BRANCH LOCATION IN IRVING, TEXAS
RDM Industrial Electronics Inc. has opened a fifth branch location in Irving, Texas, to better serve its customers in the region and support future growth. The new branch is located at 8925 Sterling St. Suite 280 Irving, Texas 75063. This is a full-service location with ready-to-ship inventory, a parts counter and route pickup and delivery available later. RDM’s newest Irving location allows for one-day UPS Ground Shipping for most of Texas, all of Oklahoma, Southern Kansas, Southeastern Arkansas, Northern Louisiana and two-day shipping for neighboring states. RDM Industrial Electronics is a leading remanufacturer of petroleum electronic equipment and premier manufacturer of RDM Intercoms.
GILBARCO VEEDER-ROOT INTRODUCES AMPS2GO SERIES F19
Gilbarco Veeder-Root announced the introduction of a new addition to the Amps2Go line of smart Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations—the Series F19. Amps2Go Series F19 enables Level 2 charging in ways especially relevant for fleets operating private charging infrastructure. It employs the same rugged design as the Amps2Go Series F7. However, the Amps2Go Series F19 adds additional power output (19.2 kW) capability to better serve school buses and light-medium-duty fleet trucks. These larger fleet vehicles frequently experience extended dwell times, such as overnight, and the Amps2Go Series F19 addressed these common fleet charging scenarios. Like the entire Amps2Go product line, the Amps2Go Series F19 is backed by a one-year full replacement warranty. FuelsMarketNews.com
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FMN Magazine FALL 2021 | 55
The Merger of Fuel and the Convenience Store BY KEITH REID
he c-store invasion of the gasoline business, a minor beachhead three years ago, is beginning to reach blitzkrieg proportions. Grocery merchants are rapidly crossing over into gasoline and oil marketers are becoming increasingly involved in the grocery business.” So began the December 1976 NPN article “Sharp Tips for Oil Marketers From the C-Store Guys.” This feature addressed what was a foundational change in both the motor fuels marketing and convenience retail industries. Combining fuel with a store was hardly new—examples can be found dating back to at least the 1920s. But something significant was happening. The c-store industry discovered selling gasoline was both a traffic driver and profit center. On the traditional “service station” side, the c-store was seen as the most effective replacement for the loss of automotive service to the large national operations that had grown to dominate the field. And for fuel marketers, maybe there were some opportunities here to sell more than just wholesale fuels. The comparison to where the industry was then to where it stands today shows just how far the trend developed. The article indicated that NACS anticipated there would be 31,600 full-size
(from 2,000 to 2,400 square feet) c-stores in the United States by the end of 1976. That number was projected to grow to 44,500 by 1980. Now there are about 150,000 stores in the nation, according to NACS, and the average store size is now roughly 3,000 square feet and trending toward 5,000 square feet or larger. On the gasoline front, NACS showed that out of 21,600 stores, 11.8% sold gasoline in 1972. In 1975, 20.6% of some 28,700 stores in the U.S. sold gasoline. Today, an estimated 80% of convenience stores sell motor fuels. The article points out that the rise of self-service fueling greatly impacted the success of gasoline in the c-store environment. A parallel shift to the decision to offer fuel was that c-store operators were increasingly taking ownership of the fueling equipment and managing the operation directly, instead of relying on a relationship with a petroleum marketer to lease out the fueling process. Marketers were paying a commission of 2 to 2.5 cents per gallon to store owners and handled the logistics and capital expenses of the fueling operations. NACS was reporting a 4.7 cents per gallon margin on independent fuel sales, with some c-store owners saying that fuel sales accounted for 40% to 50% of their total sales. More
importantly, and depending on the accounting being used, gasoline profits contributed 50% or more to net income before taxable earnings. Many c-store operators considered the transition to fuel marketing to be relatively painless. “I can learn the ‘gas’ business faster than they can learn our business,” said George Helow, owner of Zippy Mart Inc., a 275-store chain in the Southeast selling gasoline at 170 locations. Zippy Mart policy called for the ownership of the gasoline equipment and control of sales. The article highlighted internal shrink, vendor control issues, the need for close employee supervision, the threat from robbery and employee turnover. By comparison, more proactive areas such as merchandising and an effective planogram were almost secondary considerations. While c-store operations were seen as intimidating, there were plenty of operators on the fuel marketer side who were confident in what they brought to the table. And the average 30% store margin NACS reported helped soften those concerns. One Midwestern refiner marketer experimenting with a pilot c-store noted, “Hell, we spill more at one of our stations than they sell,” he said. “We want the whole thing. There is no reason why we can’t learn how to sell groceries.” Some 45 years later and the two sectors have overlapped at retail to the point where such distinctions as marketer or retailer have lost much meaning. Beating the competition is holistic, and excellence with both fueling and store operations wins the day regardless of the company’s roots. Keith Reid is editorin-chief of Fuels Market News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more than 100 years, from its founding in 1909 to when it went out of business in 2013, National Petroleum News (NPN) documented the rise of petroleum marketing and retailing in the United States. NACS, PEI and The Fuels Institute have catalogued the rich history of NPN in its entirety. Each issue of Fuels Market News will look back at the history of our vibrant industry, through the eyes of NPN, to see how it reflects the issues, challenges and opportunities we face today.
56 | FMN Magazine FALL 2021
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Fuels Market News, the magazine for retail operators, commercial fuel buyers and fuel marketers, is published by NACS, the association advan...
Published on Sep 27, 2021
Fuels Market News, the magazine for retail operators, commercial fuel buyers and fuel marketers, is published by NACS, the association advan...