Numerous industry reports speculate on the future of fuel demand, inflation, supply chain impacts, and environmental regulations, making it challenging to determine which sources provide accurate information. Experts in the industry have varying opinions about the nature of the coming changes and when they will occur. Suppose you are tracking major industry outlets like we are. In that case, the daily deluge of news stories, government reports, and earnings calls could leave you feeling increasingly uncertain with each update or, at the very least, overwhelmed with information.
For example, in a recent Oil Express1, OPIS paints a rosy depiction of fuel demand in 2022. “Adding to the bright outlook for retailers is that U.S. gasoline demand, while still substantially lagging pre-pandemic levels, has been strong compared to the number of gallons sold during Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.” Deloitte, publishing a 2023 Industry Outlook2, has a different tone. “Gasoline demand tumbled in Q3 2022... In fact, excluding the pandemic year, demand in 2022 has been the lowest in a decade.” So, which is it? Is recent fuel demand good or bad? What should we be benchmarking against as we navigate market fluctuations?
Amidst the ongoing stream of perplexing and contradictory news affecting retailers, it is understandable to question what the "new normal" might entail. Will pre-Covid demand ever return? How can I maintain competitiveness in this ever-changing landscape? Are macro market events relevant to my business?
Let’s take a step back from what might happen and dive deeper into trends that have already emerged over the past few years. In this report, we’ll cover: