2016 Retail Fuels Report | NACS Online – Your Business – Fuels Resource Center
Sign In

Fuels Resource Center

Skip Navigation LinksNACS Online / Your Business / Fuels Resource Center

The NACS Retail Fuels Report, now in its 15th year, explains market conditions that affect gas prices—and what to watch for in 2016. Download an 18-page summary here.


Because convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the gasoline purchased, NACS wants to demystify how the market works—from the time crude oil is extracted from the ground to when fuel flows into a consumer’s gas tank.

This resource was developed to help facilitate an open discussion about the issues impacting supply—and prices—through a better understanding of the retail fuels markets and help ease frustrations that consumers often experience when gasoline prices increase. If you have a question about the retail fueling industry that you would like answered, please contact Jeff Lenard.

Are you Average? (PDF)
How the average American drives and uses fuel.

The Fueling Industry at a Glance (PDF)
A snapshot look at the stores and infrastructures that provide fuels.

Consumer Research


How Are Americans Spending Their Gas Price Savings?
In 2015, lower gas prices led to an estimated $550 in savings per family. As gas prices continue to stay low into 2016, it is clear that some segments of the economy are benefitting from consumers’ economic gains.


Even at $2, The Gas Price Still Dominates Purchasing Decisions
Price remains the most dominant reason why consumers select a specific location to buy fuel. That was the case in 2008 when gas prices spiked past $4.00 per gallon and it was true in January 2016 when prices dipped below $2 per gallon.


How Much Do Gas Prices Affect Consumer Sentiment… And Spending? (PDF)
Gas is not just a commodity—it is also a leading indicator for how consumers feel about economic conditions, and that has implications for both convenience stores and the overall.



Why Gas Prices Vary Around the Country, or Around the Corner
Why were gas prices in California so much more than in South Carolina, or the national average? And why do they vary even within a market? It’s a combination of a few cost issues, plus business strategies.

The Price Per Gallon
No matter who owns the station, retail fuels prices are ultimately determined by four sets of costs: crude oil, taxes, refining costs and distribution and marketing.

Why Prices Historically Go Up in the Spring
Summer-blend fuels, infrastructure maintenance and an increase in seasonal demand all create challenges that affect retail fuels prices.

Rockets and Feathers
There is some price asymmetry between price increases and decreases, but it’s a stretch to say that prices go up like a rocket but down like a feather.

Retail Operations

Protecting Consumers from Skimmers
How real is the threat of having your credit card cloned by a skimmer—and what are retailers doing to protect you?

Who Sells America’s Fuel?
Convenience stores sell 80% of the gasoline in the United States—most are one-store businesses and less than 0.4% are owned by the major oil companies.

How Fuel Retailers Operate
That branded station on the corner is almost certainly owned and operated by an independent dealer. Here is a look at their operating structure.

Cards at the Pump: A Primer
The use of plastic at the pump is incredibly convenient. But that convenience comes at a cost.

Summertime: When the Livin’ Is Easy… and MPG May Increase
While the pain of this transition to summer-blend fuel is felt throughout the country, there are significant environmental benefits.



Bad Gas: What It Is and How Can You Avoid It
Your car runs sluggish or even stops and starts in fits. Is the cause bad gas? Let’s look at the possibilities related to if your fuel may be causing these problems.


The Value of Premium
Changes in the marketplace have eroded premium gasoline’s sales, but premium still account for roughly 10% of all gasoline sales.


Statistics and Historical Context


Statistics and Definitions: Current information about motor fuels demand, supply, refining, distribution and retail operations.

The History of Fuels Retailing | A Century of Fueling in Pictures

The Innovation That Forever Changed Fueling: A dozen or so customers probably never could have imagined what they were able to do at the pump one June 1964 day would reshape fueling forever—and also impact other retail channels.

Why Gas Is Priced Using Fractions of a Penny: Gas prices that end in 9/10th of a cent are standard practice today. It’s a practice that has its roots in the 1930s.

Additional Resources

Gasoline Taxes by States (PDF)
Click here for complete information, including current rates and explanations for gas and diesel fuel taxes.

Unique Fuel Requirements in the United States (PDF)
There are 14 unique fuels required across the United States, which complicates the efficient distribution of gasoline to consumers.

Research and Reports
The Fuels Institute, which NACS helped found in 2013, has developed several research reports of note.

Multi-Media Resources