Dear PEI Member:
“It never happened.”
“That’s a lie.” “That claim was disproved long ago.”
on both sides of today’s increasingly partisan political divide, “fake news”
seems to be everywhere.
deals with its share of fake news too—most prominently, the belief that
liquid fuels and the equipment used to store, meter and dispense those fuels
soon will disappear. New electric and autonomous technologies, we are told,
will completely replace the internal combustion engine, and an entirely new
nationwide fueling infrastructure will take the place of today’s gasoline
and diesel fueling islands.
The truth is
quite different. Liquid fuels will be around for a long time. You can count
on it. Just ask Warren Buffett.
Buffett has been among the richest people in the world. Forbes’ most
recent rankings put his net worth at more than $75 billion. Through his
Berkshire Hathaway holding company, Buffett has built a diverse portfolio of
stable, well-managed businesses working in market sectors central to the
U.S. and world economies: railroads, aviation, insurance, big box stores,
electronic components. Buffett doesn’t look for “way-out-there” ideas and
companies. The more basic, the better. In fact, he once famously said,
“Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”
turns out Buffett understands a great deal about the nation’s transportation
and fueling infrastructure. On Oct. 3, Berkshire Hathaway announced its
purchase of 38.6 percent of Pilot Flying J, North America’s largest travel
center operator. In 2023, Berkshire Hathaway’s stake will climb to 80
Forbes, Pilot Flying J is the 15th largest privately held company in
the U.S. It boasts $20 billion in annual sales and 5,000 diesel lanes at
more than 750 travel plazas in 44 states and Canada.
vehicles (EVs) a threat to high-volume gasoline and diesel operators such as
Pilot Flying J? Sure. Recent real—not fake—news stories make that clear.
Cummins just announced its first heavy-duty electric truck, dubbed AEOS,
will be available beginning in 2019. Tesla has been working on its Tesla
Semi for more than a year. GM is planning 20 new EV models by 2023. Mercedes
Benz is investing $1 billion dollars to bring EV manufacturing to the U.S.
And many other light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers are
quietly developing their own unique EV strategies.
Warren Buffett Enters the Industry
Smart Gas Station to Open
PEI Conference Planning Committee Volunteers Needed
Michigan Expands Leaking UST Reimbursements
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plazas such as Pilot Flying J face yet another risk: the potentially rapid
development of fully autonomous trucks. After all, driverless trucks won’t
have road warriors looking for coffee, meals or supplies every time they
stop to fill up.
would Buffett invest in a dying industry? The answer is he wouldn’t. In
interviews, Buffett cited the reasons behind the Pilot Flying J
acquisition—most notably, the strength of the company’s management team and
strategic growth plan.
Buffett quotes are even more telling:
“Trucks are going to be around for a very long time. Who
knows when driverless trucks are going to come along and what level of
penetration they have?”
“There is nothing that we own that doesn’t have something in
the future that might affect it. ... It’s not something I am going to lose
always carries unknowns, but Warren Buffett knows the fundamentals that make
the liquid fueling industry strong aren’t going away anytime soon.
A good thing
for the rest of us to remember, too.
STATION LAUNCHES IN CHINA
Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, will
open a smart gas station in Hangzhou, China, later this month. According to
CaixingGlobal.com, the station will use robotic arms to fuel vehicles
and provide an unstaffed convenience store at which patrons may scan a QR
code to enter, pick up their items and pay at the checkout gate. By next
year, each motorist’s identity, car model and preferred fuel product will be
automatically recognized to further expedite and enhance the experience,
according to Alibaba.
COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASING & INVENTORY MANAGERS CONFERENCE
PEI will present a Purchasing & Inventory Managers Conference in spring
2018. The conference will offer general session and roundtable discussions
specifically geared to the needs of purchasing and inventory management
professionals. The dates and location of the conference will be announced
If you are
interested in serving on the planning committee for the 2018 PEI Purchasing
& Inventory Managers Conference, contact Bob Young at
by Friday, Oct. 20. The committee’s main responsibilities are to develop the
roundtable discussion topics and serve as PEI ambassadors during the
conference. All committee planning discussions will be held via conference
TO EXPAND TANK FUND PAYMENTS
The Michigan Senate voted Oct. 10 to reimburse
gas station operators for remediation of underground storage tank (UST)
leaks discovered before December 2014. Under current law, operators can be
reimbursed only for leaks discovered after that point. The Michigan House
passed the measure several months ago, so the bill now moves to Gov. Rick
Snyder for signature.
PENNSYLVANIA OFFERS ALTERNATIVE FUELING INFRASTRUCTURE GRANTS
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) will offer approximately $1 million in new grants for the
installation of publicly accessible alternative fuel infrastructure projects
along major transportation corridors in the state.
the DEP, electric vehicle charging stations, compressed natural gas
refueling stations and propane refueling stations are eligible for the
grants through the state’s FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation)
Act. The program will provide up to a 50 percent reimbursement per project,
subject to a $500,000 per project cap.
Continental ContiTech marked the 40th anniversary
of its Mount Pleasant, Iowa, manufacturing facility for industrial and
automotive hose products on Sept. 30. The 200,000-square-feet facility is
about 50 miles south of Iowa City in southeastern Iowa.
E.O. Habhegger celebrated its 90th anniversary Oct. 5. Headquartered
in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, the longtime distributor also has branch warehouses
in Hammonton, New Jersey, and Orlando, Florida.
Matrix Capital Markets Group announced three promotions in the firm’s
Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Group: Vance Saunders, CPA,
managing director and principal; John J. Underwood, managing
director; and Carlton C. Zesch, senior analyst.
Dan Murray was named president of Murray Equipment on Oct. 5.
He succeeds Steve Murray, who will continue to work on the company’s
diesel exhaust fluid storage, dispensing and manufacturing solutions.
Michael von Knorring, European sales manager for Washworld,
has retired, the company announced Oct. 10. Since joining Washworld in 2011,
von Knorring played a crucial role in building international distributors
for the company’s products.
“An explosion at a gas
station in Ghana’s capital killed at least seven people
and injured more than 130 others on Saturday, government officials and news
reports said. … The explosion is at least the second to rock the capital
since 2015. Another explosion at a gas station in the center of Accra killed
about 100 people in June of that year.”—New York Times, Oct. 8, 2017
“New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that
the state has seen a 74% increase in electric car sales
over the same time period last year, resulting from the Drive Clean Rebate
initiative launched on 21 March 2017. … In total, more than $3 million in
rebates were provided to New Yorkers for the purchase or lease of 26
different types of cars.”—Green Car Congress, Sept. 29, 2017
North Dakota tank manufacturer. TrueNorth Steel,
702 13th Ave. E., West Fargo, ND 58078, has applied for manufacturer
division membership. Scott Johnson is sales manager for the firm, which was
established in 1945. The company manufactures aboveground and underground
tanks that are sold through distributors. Sponsored for PEI membership by
Jess Robbins, Plasteel, Oceanside, California.
Illinois tool manufacturer. GROZ Engineering Tools Ltd., 655 Wheat
Lane, Wood Dale, IL 60191, has applied for affiliate division membership.
Alex Unis is vice president of business development for North America for
the firm, which was established in 1976. GROZ manufactures handheld
lubrication equipment for fluid handling, fuel transfer, lubrication and
measurement. Sponsored for PEI membership by Rob Hegg, Fluidall, Delano,
Myanmar installation company. Sein Maung Engineering Co. Ltd.,
Yadanar Road, Myanmar, has applied for service and construction division
membership. Myo Thein is business development director for the firm, which
was established in 2010. The company provides installation of equipment for
gas stations. Sponsored for PEI membership by Evan Reid, Gilbarco,
Greensboro, North Carolina.
Cyprus metering systems maintenance company. Hellenic Technical
Enterprises Ltd., P.O. Box 40446, Larnaca, Cyprus 6304, has applied for
service and construction division membership. Nicos Vassiliou is the manager
of the firm, which was established in 1976. Hellenic Technical Enterprises
maintains fuel metering systems. Sponsored for PEI membership by Bill
Reichhold, Wayne, Austin, Texas.
Mexico construction company. Quar Construtora S.A. de C.V., Bosque de
Ciruelos 130, Bosques de las Lomas, Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico 11700, has
applied for service and construction division membership. Jorge F. Quiroz
Montero is CEO of the firm, which was established in 1992. The company
provides assistance in designing, building and installing equipment for
service stations and convenience stores. Sponsored for PEI membership by Bob
Patterson, TFCCanopy, Garrett, Indiana.
Maryland tank and line testing company. Webb Environmental LLC, 835
Baltimore Blvd., Suite C, Westminster, MD 21157 has applied for service and
construction division membership. Frank William Webb Jr. is president of the
firm, which was established in 2016. The company provides equipment
installation and repair, tank and line testing, and dispenser and sump
testing. Sponsored for PEI membership by Galen Heaps, PetroSupMD, Elkridge,
Florida tank cleaning firm. Tank Wizards Inc., 1511 Masters Road NW,
Palm Bay, FL 32907, has applied for service and construction division
membership. Wendall Stroderd is president of the firm, which was established
in 2013. The company offers tank cleaning, fuel quality assurance programs,
fuel tank service and fuel additive sales. Sponsored for PEI membership by
Michael E. Clark, PtrTechFL, Deland, Florida.
Jeff Sexten, XPO Logistics, Ann Arbor, Michigan (O&E)