Most retailers, 60%, expect strong or slight growth in the demand for fuel in the next 10-plus years, while 28% expect a slight or great decline.
White thinks fuel demand will dip, but not because of electric vehicles (EVs). “EV is not replacing that,” he says. “It’s a different customer, and there will be some folks that jump on board with it. There’s going to be a dip in demand anyway because of the efficiency of vehicles now.”
When asked what changes in fuel offerings they plan in the next year, the top survey response was adding E0 (ethanol-free), at 26%, followed by adding E15 (20%) and EV charging stations (19%).
White says Petroleum Marketing Group is testing E85 at one of its Henny Penny stores and has looked at, but not yet done anything with, EV charging stations.
While he thinks EVs will have positive benefits on fuel demand, a negative will have more to do with individual states or municipalities enacting regulations that create unrealistic goals in reducing emissions, he says. Sixteen percent of respondents cited regulations—in fuel economy and emissions standards—as having an effect, either positive or negative, on future fuel demand, third among eight choices.
"There’s going to be a dip in demand ... because of the efficiency of vehicles now.”
Huff, meanwhile, says the biggest threat to fuel is EVs. “It’s pretty easy to get 5 or 8 or 10 cents profit on a gallon of gas,” Huff says. “How do you get that on a kilowatt hour of power from the power company, and how do you manage the demand charge that’s related to that? There is no model that really works currently in a convenience store to make money off EVs.
“They’re putting in the chargers, but they’re usually put in by other companies. The c-stores just give them the space.”