OPIS: Gas Retailers Saw Lowest Margins Yet in 2007

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OPIS: Gas Retailers Saw Lowest Margins Yet in 2007

WALL, N.J. -- Motor fuel retailers suffered the lowest margins as a percent of revenue in 2007, and to date in 2008, it has been worse, according to the Oil Price Information Service's (OPIS) fourth annual Retail Year in Review and 2008 Profit Outlook.

The situation was caused by the 2007 spring price hike, which started on Jan. 20, 2007, and raised wholesale prices 85 percent, according to the organization. In 2008, the gas market appeared to have bottomed on Feb. 7, but is currently 20 cents per gallon higher, OPIS stated.

In addition, the OPIS report includes a ranking system for fuel retailers, called the OPIS Brand Power results, which is based on the margins one brand is able to extract against its direct competition at the pump, the organization stated.

In the category of brands with more than 1,000 sites, Chevron achieved the top spot on the ranking for the fourth straight year, with a premium of 2.53 cents more per gallon premium than its competition. The second, third and fourth place rankings were taken by Shell, BP and Texaco, respectively, according to the report.

On the other end of the spectrum, aggressive convenience store chains, including Arco and other hypermarket formats were among those ranked lowest, OPIS stated.

In addition, the report found Shell had the largest market share estimate, while Wawa was rated the most efficient, a figure found by dividing the chain's market share by its outlet share. The second highest ranked retailer by efficiency was QuikTrip, being the most efficient in four of its eight regions, OPIS stated. Other winners in various categories included BP, Texaco, Speedway, Shell, Exxon, Mobil and Conoco, according to OPIS.