With so many different brands of gas to choose from, how does a fuel consumer choose one? While many people swear by the quality of the gas from their preferred fuel retailer, does it really make any difference? Are you really “shopping local” by purchasing your gas from “Dave’s Gas” up the road?
If you’re thinking of getting into the gas station game; read on and discover how fuel retail works, an the difference between unbranded and branded gas stations.
Branded Gas Stations
Contrary to what many fuel consumers tend to believe, the branded gas stations they frequent are usually not owned by the fuel company seen on their sign. In fact, 60% of convenience stores that sell fuel are independently operated according to NACS in their fuels resource center.
Often, stores frequented by consumers are independently owned and operated by a small gas station management company, or by individuals such as yourself. These stores remain branded by widely recognized fuel companies such as BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell because they lack the funding and resources required to promote their store under any other name.
Branded gas stations come with their share of benefits. For one thing, there’s already brand recognition and the power of a major corporation behind it. In fact, you may not even need to bother with marketing or advertising campaigns since the national brand will handle a large portion of that for you.
There’s also comfort in a well-known and trusted brand name. Similar to how many consumers purchase only name brand food products or medicine (regardless of the fact that the off brand typically has the exact same ingredients), there are a number of consumers who stand by their fuel brand of choice—as many as 4% of drivers, in fact, according to NACS.
While that number may not seem very high, it’s roughly 1 out of every 9 consumers.
Unbranded Gas Stations
While independently owned, branded gas stations populate the majority of all gas station statistics, unbranded gas stations do exist. The main difference between branded and unbranded gas stations is that fuel from an unbranded gas station doesn’t have the additives that fuel from a branded gas station has.
For example, BP gasoline has an additive in it called Invigorate, which helps to maintain the vehicle’s engine. Keep in mind, however, that additives don’t necessarily add to the quality of the fuel itself—it simply enhances it. Legally, fuel must meet some very specific standards in order to be distributed to consumers, debunking the myth that unbranded gas is less ‘trustworthy’ than branded gas.
Because unbranded fuel does not contain an additive component, it does tend to run a bit cheaper than its branded alternative—generally between .05 and .15 cents per gallon, except in the rare event of a price inversion. Unbranded gas station owners also have the choice of their preferred fuel distributor, unlike branded gas station owners.
Managing Your Fuel
Whichever route you choose to take, an important part of any gas station management strategy is: managing your fuel! That’s where PDI CStore Essentials (formerly CStorePro) comes in. Using our all-in-one software, you’ll have a wealth of information right at your fingertips:
Monitor tank levels
Monitor operations and track deliveries
Get accurate pool margins and track profits both before and after fees and jobber charges
Price book management allows you to alter gas prices from anywhere with our cloud-based dashboard or mobile app.
Additionally, PDI CStore Essentials offers multi-store management tools, so if you’ve got your eye on building a chain with multiple locations: you’ll be able to monitor and manage all sites.
Level Up Your Fuel Game!
Gas station management is a tough job, and choosing to get into the industry is an important decision for prospective owners. It’s important to weigh your options carefully and choose the best fuel retail method for your business model. In any case, PDI CStore Essentialsis ready to help with the best gas station management software around. today to speak with our gas station experts about achieving your goals!