Comparing retail fuel margins: petroleum vs. natural gas

  • Comparing retail fuel margins: petroleum vs. natural gas

    As we read more and more about the growth of the natural gas fueling station infrastructure, and the coming of more natural gas engines, it’s important to be aware of how a natural gas product offering can impact retail fuel margins at the c-store.

    Clean Energy Fuels is a provider of natural gas for transportation in north America, with a network of both CNG and LNG stations across the US and Canada, totaling more than 348 stations. In the most recent fiscal quarter, Clean Energy delivered 56.4 million gallons of fuel.

    The typical quarterly margin for Clean Energy is in the $0.30 per gallon range. Compare that to the most recent Murphy quarterly margins of $0.148 per gallon, and the most recent CST Brands quarterly margins of $0.16 per gallon (after $0.04 credit card fees). That means the Clean Energy retail natural gas fuel margins are approximately two times the margins of traditional fuels.

    Granted, the fuel volumes of natural gas are nowhere near the fuel volumes of petroleum fuels. But as the growth of natural gas continues, double margins become increasingly intriguing.

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