30 Years of Change in the Fuel Industry

Posted by PS Energy Group on Mar 31, 2016 9:00:00 AM

This year marks our 30th Anniversary and no doubt the industry has undergone quite a transformation since our founding. We have seen a lot of changes over the past thirty years—changes due to new technologies, government regulations, geopolitical events, economic conditions and yes, Mother Nature. Let’s journey back to the decade of our founding—the eighties—and take a brief look at some of the more significant events that have impacted our industry.

Old Gas Station

  • 1986—Pay-at-the-pump is introduced by E-Z Serve in Abilene, Texas with dispensers featuring a built-in credit/debit card reader system.
  • 1988—Underground storage tank (UST) regulations are passed requiring operators to upgrade their storage tank systems with spill-prevention and leak-detection equipment within a decade, forcing tens of thousands of stations to close due to the high cost of upgrading.
  • 1990—Congress passes the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which contains six provisions to be implemented in stages between November 1, 1992, and January 1, 2000. One provision—the Reformulated Gasoline Program—requires that the most polluted metropolitan areas sell a cleaner burning reformulated gasoline and allows other areas to "opt in" by applying to the EPA. This introduces into widespread use the additives MTBE and ethanol to satisfy the oxygen content requirement and also significantly reduces the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel.
  • 1990-91—In August, Iraq invades Kuwait and the United Ntions approves an embargo on all crude oil and products originating from Iraq and Kuwait, creating concern over supply and causing crude oil prices to climb to around $36 per barrel in September 1990.
  • Early 1990s—Hypermarkets begin selling fuels. Today there are around 5,000 hypermarkets doing so—accounting for 12% of all fuels sold with Walmart the largest seller.
  • 1992—The Energy Policy Act of 1992 is passed and mandates energy efficiency standards, a broader use of alternative energy and renewables, and more domestic oil production.
  • 1999—Consolidation of the industry begins with British Petroleum and Amoco merging and also Exxon and Mobil. In 2001 Chevron and Texaco merge and in 2002, Conoco and Phillips.
  • 2000—TwinCitiesGasPrices.com debuts and by 2004 evolves into GasBuddy, which reports gas prices in every major market in the U.S. and Canada.
  • 2001—The 9/11 terrorist attacks send demand for crude oil and petroleum products in sharp decline, dropping crude oil prices from around $28 per barrel to $17.50 on November 15. Gasoline prices also drop from $1.52 per gallon to $1.06 on December 17.
  • 2002-03—A strike in Venezuela that begins in December deprives the U.S. of imported crude oil and refined petroleum products for several months and drops domestic crude oil stocks to their lowest levels since October 1975.
  • 2004—Touch screen technology at the pump comes into play with Sheetz providing kiosks that also allow customers to order in-store food service items that they pick up after fueling.
  • In May, the average price of gasoline tops $2.00 a gallon for the first time.Gas Station
  • 2005—The Energy Policy Act of 2005 becomes law on July 27 and repeals the oxygenate requirement of the Reformulated Gasoline program, eliminating the federal program that encouraged the use of MTBE or ethanol.
  • In its place, the Renewable Fuels Program mandates that 4 billion gallons of biofuel be mixed with gasoline by 2006 and 7.5 million gallons be sold by 2012. Additionally, the bill limits states from establishing their own fuel standards to control emissions—stopping the spread of market-specific, boutique fuel blends.
  • Hurricane Katrina makes landfall on August 29 and impacts the country's petroleum infrastructure causing oil prices to hit a record $70.85 per barrel on August 30. Wholesale gasoline prices also rise sharply, and on September 5, gasoline prices top $3 per gallon for the first time.
  • 2007—Gasoline and oil prices hit new highs—gasoline at $3.21 per gallon on May 28—and oil topping $80 per barrel for the first time on September 13.
  • The Energy Independence and Security Act expands the Renewable Fuels Standard, mandating 16.55 billion gallons by 2013 and 36.0 billion gallons by 2022. It also requires the use of new, advanced biofuels that meet certain greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • 2008—Oil prices briefly top $100 per barrel in January and oil and gasoline prices continue to climb throughout the spring and summer. In June, the average gasoline price tops $4 per gallon for the first time.
  • In June, ExxonMobil announces it will sell its retail assets and is joined by ConocoPhillips in August, joining BP which announced in 2007 it was getting out of the retail business.
  • 2009—The Obama administration updates the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 35.5 miles per gallon for model year 2016.
  • 2010—In October, the EPA issues a partial waiver to allow E15 (15% ethanol) fuel in 2007 and later vehicles— followed by another waiver allowing E15 for 2001 and later vehicles.
  • The Nissan Leaf is introduced—the first mass-produced electric vehicle in the U.S. market.
  • 2011—In June President Obama announces a greenhouse gas reduction policy for light duty vehicles, which results in the next phase of CAFE standards—requiring the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light duty trucks by model year 2025.
  • 2012—Hurricane Isaac hits the Gulf Coast as the fall transition to winter-blend fuels is underway, leading to a rare late summer price increase.
  • In October Hurricane Sandy paralyzes the East Coast and many gas stations in New York and New Jersey are without power and supply, creating long gas lines and mandated odd-evening rationing in both states—a mandate not seen since 1979.
  • 2013—China surpasses the U.S. as the largest importer of liquid fuels.
  • 2014—Government mandates for reducing CO2 emissions go into effect.
  • 2015—In March President Obama signs an executive order to set new goals for reducing the federal government’s greenhouse emissions—encompassing 650,000 fleet vehicles.

Tags: PS Energy News

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