By Joe Petrowski
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once famously said: “all politics is local.” But so is gas pricing, which is why the most successful fuel merchants utilize their store associates to monitor local competition. Although central fuel departments will look to indices and state averages to gauge performance, it still comes to pricing on the right corner at the right time. To illustrate this below are the current 14-state average retail gasoline prices with the high and low in that state:
One might expect a large state like California or Texas to have a large variance, but even smaller/lower volume states like Iowa or Rhode Island show enough variance that it will impact volume if a retailer is not focused on his/her direct competitors. Another important point is while we have been in a relatively low volatility range on fuel prices in times of high volatility, the ranges will widen dramatically.
Joe Petrowski has had a long career in international commodity trading, energy and retail management and public policy development. He currently serves as Director of Fuels for Yesway, where he oversees all operations of the fuels team, including pricing, procurement, and management of the firm’s fleet services program. In 2005, he was named President and CEO of Gulf Oil LP and elected to the Gulf Oil LP Board of Directors. In October of 2008, he was named CEO of the now combined Gulf Oil and Cumberland Farms, whose annual revenues exceed $11 billion and that now operates in 27 states. In September 2013, Petrowski stepped down as CEO of The Cumberland Gulf Group. He is Managing Director of Mercantor Partners, a private equity firm investing in convenience and energy distribution, and a member of the Gulf Board.