Mammoth Margins

For the past several years, many convenience store retailers considered sales at the pump an opportunity to bring customers inside the store to purchase high-margin items. Sure, some profits could be had at the pump, but certainly not enough to sustain a business.

Thanks to lower gas prices, however, fuel profits roared back to life last year. Gross fuel margin dollars per store grew an outstanding 28.6 percent year over year to $281,206. This figure is even more impressive when considering that gross fuel margin dollars per store actually declined to the tune of 0.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.

In almost every way, the motor fuels category posted its best results in many years, with 2014 perhaps being one of the best years ever.

Digging deeper into the data, the month of May had the highest average pump price per gallon in all five regions of the United States. A change began in June, with the nationwide average gasoline price declining every month through the end of the year.

In all, the average price per gallon declined 4.1 percent (or more than 14 cents per gallon) in 2014 to $3.411 per gallon for all grades, all formulations of gasoline.

The only possible negative in the fuel segment of the c-store industry was a slight decline of 0.2 percent in the number of c-stores selling motor fuels. Last year, 83.5 percent of c-stores sold motor fuels, with the decline coming primarily from single-store operators.

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