- Remote diagnostics could change service delivery.
Manufacturers are adding sensors, software and cloud connectivity to an
ever-widening number of fueling equipment components. Some distributors are
wondering if/how/when this will affect the traditional distributor/marketer
service relationship. In particular, will manufacturers use all this
technology to gain greater leverage over the service delivery channel?
- The coming year will have a lot to say about the future of
ethanol. Distributors and their customers are actively following
developments with ethanol this year. Most expect that the number of c-stores
offering E15 will accelerate in 2017, particularly on new construction.
However, corrosion directly or indirectly related to ethanol is an ongoing
- Higher interest rates mean cash is king. Rising interest rates
on business loans are beginning to put pressure on highly leveraged firms.
With two recent increases by the Federal Reserve in its benchmark funds rate
(Dec. 2016 and Feb. 2017) and signals that two more increases are yet to
come this year, PEI members have ample reason to reduce their debt load.
- Consolidation = complications. Manufacturer consolidation is
reducing competition in some product categories. On the distributor side,
on-again, off-again consolidation is very much on again so far in 2017. The
latest round of mergers and acquisitions is prompting some distributors to
rethink their businesses’ future. Should they seek to acquire or be
acquired? If not, how will they compete in the new competitive environment?
- Health care costs are an increasing problem. The Republicans’
proposed solution for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare has now
collapsed, but health care costs remain a huge problem in the industry.
Benefit providers are warning members of massive premium increases and
reduced plan options for employees in the coming months.
- Electric vehicles (EVs) remain top of mind. Despite
projections showing that liquid fuels will dominate for years to come,
members remain interested in the future (and future threat) of EVs. Although
few distributors are currently installing EV charging equipment, one
possible point of entry is new store construction. As EV charging becomes a
faster and easier process, large chains may begin to build EV charging
infrastructure into their forecourt plans “just in case.” Full-service
construction-oriented distributors then could position themselves as a
one-stop solution for both liquid fuel and electric charging.
FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS TO
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
Department of Transportation (DOT) jointly announced March 15 that they will
re-evaluate the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for model
year 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles. The announcement reverses a Jan. 12
“final determination” by then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that affirmed
a 2012 proposal to gradually increase the nation’s CAFE to 54.5 mpg for
model year 2025 vehicles (see Jan. 19, 2017 TL).
The new plan pushes final
determination of the 2022-2025 standards to April 2018, the original
deadline established in the 2012 rulemaking. In their joint statement, the
EPA and DOT noted that extra time is needed to gather scientific and
statistical data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
as required under the original rule.
At present, the two agencies
are not challenging a previously granted waiver that will allow California
to set fuel economy guidelines even more stringent than the federal CAFE
BUDGET PROPOSAL WOULD
SLASH EPA FUNDING
A preliminary budget proposal released March 17 by
President Trump would reduce the EPA’s FY 2018 funding by 31 percent, from
$8.3 billion to $5.7 billion. Under the plan, the EPA’s workforce of 15,000
would be cut to 11,800, and state grant programs would be reduced
substantially. Some analysts also believe the budget reductions would
require delegation of tribal grants and regulatory authority to the states.
Although the proposal
provides a blueprint of the administration’s priorities for the coming year,
the final FY 2018 budget will be determined in May when Congress is
scheduled to develop and votes on actual appropriation bills.
OPW RECALLS SWIVEL
OPW, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,
has issued a voluntary recall of OPW 241TPS and OPW 36S hose swivel
connectors manufactured between Jan. 2013 and March 2017. A complete list of
affected swivels can be found
here. In a related matter, the
Technical Standards and Safety Authority for Ontario, Canada, is requiring
that any affected swivels in that province be removed from service by April
2017 PEI WOMEN CONFERENCE
Register now for the third annual
PEI Women Conference, to be held
April 25-27 in Savannah, Georgia. This year’s program will again feature
exceptional presentations, workshops and networking opportunities. Attendees
also will be treated to a panel discussion featuring the insights and
experiences of four extremely accomplished PEI Women members: Chris Blumberg
of SouthEastern Petroleum Systems; Paola Bravo of S. Bravo Systems; Marion
Long of Walsh, Long & Co.; and Joyce Rizzo of JD2 Environmental.
Registration is $595 for PEI Women members ($695 for nonmembers). The
nonmember registration fee includes a lifetime membership in PEI Women. To
learn more, register and book your hotel room,
PEI MEMBER NEWS
National Energy Equipment has acquired Velcon Canada, a division of
Parker Hannifin Canada. The acquisition agreement includes exclusive
distribution rights for Velcon aviation and industrial filtration products
Lube-Tech has agreed to acquire Professional Carwash Systems, Inc., a
distributor of Washworld vehicle wash systems and supporting products
for the convenience store, grocery, automotive service center and car dealer
markets. The purchase takes effect April 17.
SloanLED has announced the following appointments: Jamie Hampshire,
regional manager, Central U.S., for SloanLED lighting systems business
units; Scott Hassler, territory manager, Southeast U.S., for SloanLED sign
business units; Susan Svotelis, Canadian sales manager for both sign and
lighting business units; and Hans van Rooyen, regional territory manager for
the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region.
Seneca Companies has named Justin Richmond director of fuel quality
and restoration services for its waste solutions division. He will be
responsible for strategic growth, sales and management of Seneca’s fuel
polishing and restoration services.
BJM Pumps has promoted Joseph Ho to service manager. Ho has been with
BJM for more than 10 years.
“Over three in five
Americans assume that any gas sold at fueling stations is safe for all of
their cars as
well as other, non-road engine products, like boats and mowers (63 percent
in 2017, up from 60 percent in 2016 and 57 percent in 2015). This year's
poll also shows roughly two thirds of Americans believe higher ethanol
blends of gas are safe to use in any engine (31 percent).”—Boating
Industry Online, March 17, 2017
“Over the past decade, nearly half of all of the states and the
District of Columbia have had some kind of financial incentive for EV sales
on the books—typically in the form of an income tax credit or a
straight-up rebate. … Today, only 16 states (plus the District of Columbia)
still offer tax credits or rebates, and at least two states are voting in
the current legislative session on whether or not to extend or repeal the
benefits.”—The Energy Collective, March 14, 2017
“UPS said it will invest
more than $90 million in natural gas facilities and vehicles,
including fueling stations, compressed natural gas trucks, and liquefied
natural gas vehicles. The company plans to build an additional six CNG
fueling stations and add 30 new CNG tractors and terminal trucks as well as
50 LNG vehicles to its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet.”—Automotive
Fleet, March 17, 2017
“Until Amazon is able to communicate a clear win-win channel strategy to
distributors, it will likely have a tough time gaining enthusiastic
channel partners.”—Modern Distribution Management, Feb. 6, 2017
“QuikTrip Corp. will begin offering E15 fuel at 44 of its convenience
stores in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metro area. … Other c-stores that offer the
fuel include Family Express, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec
Fuels, RaceTrac, Sheetz and Thorntons.”—Convenience Store News, March
California distributor. Fuel Transfer, LLC, 330 S. Maple St., Suite H,
Corona, CA 92880, has applied for distributor division membership. Clark
Beesley is owner and general manager of the firm, which was established in
2016. The company is a petroleum equipment sales and service firm. Sponsored
by Monica Leonard, PIUSI, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Indiana tank manufacturer. Steel Tank and Fabricating Corp., P. O.
Box 210, Columbia City, IN 46725, has applied for manufacturer division
membership. Ron Trocchio is sales manager for the firm, which was
established in 1952. The company manufactures aboveground storage tanks that
are sold through PEI distributors. Sponsored for PEI membership by Jack
Dunifon, GasEqpSer, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Italy tank manufacturer. Emiliana Serbatoi SRL,
Largo Maestri del Lavoro 40, Campogalliano, Modena, 41011, Italy, has
applied for manufacturer division membership. Giulio Guastalli is sales area
manager for the firm, which was established in 1983. The company produces and
sells through PEI distributors tanks for the storage, transport, supply and
management of fuels. Sponsored for PEI membership by Monica Leonard, PIUSI,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
and consulting firm. The McIntosh Group, 1850 S. Boulder Ave., Tulsa, OK
74119, has applied for affiliate division membership. Karen MacCannell is
senior associate of the firm, which was established in 1998. The company
specializes in accessibility, architecture, prototype and site-selection
programs for their clients. Sponsored for PEI membership by Ron McDowell,
PECOFacet, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Alabama retail management systems provider. Fiscal Systems, Inc.,
4946 Research Drive NW, Huntsville, AL 35805, has applied for affiliate
division membership. Laura F. Moore is sales and marketing manager for the
firm, which was established in 1983. The company provides a retail
management system that includes total integration of POS operations.
Sponsored for PEI membership by Bob Chase, Bennett, Spring Lake, Michigan.
ADMITTED TO PEI
- Able Applied Technologies, Columbus, Ohio (mfr)
- Titan Chemical Transfer Solutions LLC, Greenville, South Carolina
- Blaze Display Technology Co. Ltd., Nanshan, Shenzhen, China (aff)