The third quarter of 2018 showed improvement in retail gasoline price margin performance compared to a year ago. Here are all the details.
Gross retail gasoline margins improved 1.9% to 21.8cts/gal in Q3 2018 compared to Q3 2017, according OPIS RetailSuite.
There were highs and lows throughout the United States, with clear winners and losers. Here’s a breakdown of 18 data points uncovered in our OPIS retail price database. We’ve organized them into Margins, Volumes, Market Share, Efficiency and Price Strategy.
Margins Show West Region Most Profitable
- The West had the best margins, with average rack-to-retail profits coming in at 25.4cts/gal versus 32.4cts/gal last year.
- Rounding out the top margin performers were the Northeast, with margins of 24.0cts/gal, the Great Lakes, at 22.1cts/gal, and the Midwest, at 18.3cts/gal.
- The Southwest had the lowest margins, falling from 18.6cts/gal last year to 16.2cts/gal this year.
- Oregon had the best margins of all the states, with profits averaging a whopping 48.3cts/gal, up 17.8% from last year.
- Delaware had the worst margins at just 9.9cts/gal despite a 37.5% increase from last year.
- The Top 20 Metros with the best margins were dominated by California, with 11 entries from the Golden State led by San Francisco, which had margins of an eye-popping 55.8cts/gal.
- The worst place to own a gas station was Elkton, Md., where average rack-to-retail margins were 5.2cts/gal in the red.
U.S. Gas Station Volumes Were Lower
- U.S. volumes were down, according to the OPIS survey of nearly 15,000 stations, by 1.7% versus the July-September period in 2017.
- The West was off the most, with a decline of 2.7% followed by the Southeast with a drop of 2.3%.
- The Northeast had the smallest drop, with throughputs declining 0.7%. The Midcontinent and Southwest were down 1.6% and 1.7%, respectively.
- Massachusetts and Rhode Island were the only two states that OPIS publishes that saw increases in volumes, with demand up 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively.
- Florida was down the most, with a decline of 3.9%, in OPIS’ data.
But Who Owned Market Share?
Wait. Remind me again, what is "market share?"
- Market share = % of volumes sold by a brand in a given geography.
- Shell had the highest market share of all the gas brands with 12.3% of all sales, but it was a decline from 12.9% last year.
- Exxon was second, followed by Chevron, Speedway, BP, Mobil, Sunoco, Valero QuikTrip and Marathon.
Who Held the Highest Efficiency Ranking?
Hold Up. What does "efficiency" mean?
- First off, outlet share = % of stations operated by a brand in a given geography.
- Efficiency = Market Share/Outlet Share
- Buc-ees had the highest efficiency rating.
- Wawa was second, followed by Quiktrip, Sheetz, Racetrac, QuickCheck and Maverik.
And the Winner for Most Aggressive Price Strategy Goes To....
- Costco was the most aggressive retailer. During the third quarter, on any given day, the average Costco was priced 23.38cts/gal below their direct competitors, 8% more aggressive than Q3 2017.
- Chevron made up the opposite side of the pricing spectrum. The average Chevron station on a given day in the third quarter was priced 9.62cts/gal above the stations around them.
The data in this blog was compiled using OPIS RetailSuite, a software database that allows retailers to monitor station profits, volumes and competition. Want to grade your station and kick your performance up a notch? Find out more.