Petroleum Product Wholesalers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 1,800 petroleum product wholesalers in the US act as middlemen between refiners/storage terminals and retailers or end users. Major revenue categories include motor gasoline; distillate fuel oil; lubricating oil and greases; jet fuel, naphtha, or kerosene; and residual fuel oil. Wholesalers may have downstream operations and own groups of gas stations. Petroleum product wholesalers service a wide range of customer industries, including gas stations, convenience stores with gas stations, airports, farms, and government fleet operators.

Clean Energy Transition

Consumer and governmental efforts to reduce US dependence on fossil fuels affect demand for petroleum products.

Sensitivity To Economic Conditions

Demand for fuel is sensitive to economic conditions and can drop during periods of uncertainty.

Industry size & Structure

The average petroleum product wholesaler operates out of a single location, employs 18 workers, and generates about $320 million annually.

    • The petroleum product wholesaling industry consists of about 1,800 firms that employ about 32,000 workers and generate $575 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated; the top 50 firms account for 87% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies, such as Mansfield Energy, Murphy Oil, and US Venture, may have additional midstream and downstream operations, in addition to wholesale operations.
    • Petroleum products wholesalers ("jobbers") supply the majority of fuel sold to gasoline stations. Jobbers also own or act as franchisors for the majority of gas retail outlets in the US.
    • Most firms operate within a limited geographical market, and may be constrained by proximity to supply (terminals).
                                Industry Forecast
                                Petroleum Product Wholesalers Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Jun 23, 2024 - Wholesale Prices Ease
                                • According to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, producer prices for petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers fell 3.5% in April compared to a year ago after rising 11.8% in the previous annual comparison. The decline in the wholesale price of petroleum and petroleum products followed a 1.9% decline in year-over-year sales in March and a rise of just 0.8% versus February, according to the Census Bureau. The recent sharp decline in the price of gasoline is being felt by wholesalers and retailers alike. Meanwhile, employment by the industry dipped by 0.5% in April year over year, while average industry wages rose 4.2% over the same period to $30.82 per hour, BLS data show.
                                • The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, among others, are suing the EPA over its March final rule, which, according to the trade association, “imposes an electrification mandate on the US heavy trucking sector.” The new rule is expected to drive the production of trucks fueled by electricity and hydrogen and aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 60% by 2032 for some vehicle classes. The lawsuit follows a challenge to EPA’s light- and medium-duty vehicle emissions standards for model years 2027-2032. The EMA has asked the courts to review EPA’s prior tailpipe emissions standards for model year 2025 and 2026 vehicles and the Agency’s reinstatement of California’s Clean Air Act waiver to issue climate-based vehicle emissions standards. According to the EMA, the Biden administration’s attempts to electrify transportation threaten the viability and jobs of small business energy marketers.
                                • US retail gasoline prices will average about $3.60 per gallon in 2024 and 2025 (up 10 cents from 2023), according to the US Energy Information Administration’s April 2024 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). The April STEO forecast for retail gas (regular) is 10 cents per gallon higher on an annual average basis in 2024 compared with the March STEO, due to rising wholesale gasoline prices as well as higher crude oil prices. The EIA now forecasts the wholesale gasoline price will average more than $2.70/gal in 2024, also 10 cents/gal more than in 2023. The higher forecast wholesale gasoline prices compared with the March STEO reflects the agency’s expectation of more gasoline exports and lower gasoline inventories, leading to an increase in the 2024 annual average crack spread for gasoline relative to last month’s forecast.
                                • The ample new supplies of US crude oil that in recent years helped to suppress spikes in oil prices are dwindling, The Wall Street Journal reported in February. US crude oil output is expected to grow by just 170,000 barrels a day (bpd) in 2024 compared to 2023, down from an increase of 1 million bpd last year, WSJ reported, citing federal record-keepers. That would be the smallest annual increase since 2016 (excluding the pandemic). Abundant supplies of crude oil produced in the US, notably the oil-rich Permian Basin, helped keep a lid on oil prices despite OPEC production cuts and turmoil in global oil markets due, most recently, to Israel’s War in the Middle East. Recent acquisitions by Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and other players are fueling consolidation in the oil patch, shifting the focus from drilling new wells to returning cash to shareholders, WSJ reports.
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