ALEXANDRIA, VA — NACS this morning announced the formation of The Fuels Institute, a non-profit, research-oriented think tank dedicated to evaluating the market issues related to consumer vehicles and the fuels that power them.
“Our industry sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country,” said John Eichberger, NACS vice president of government relations. “It is our responsibility to communicate how issues affect the fuels system, especially at the retail level, so that decisions can be made that ultimately benefit consumers and, by extension, retailers.”
“We need to create a market in which consumers can safely, conveniently and affordably purchase the fuels that they desire,” said Eichberger. “Unfortunately, decisions that affect the market are being made in a vacuum, without coordination among the affected stakeholders. The Fuels Institute will rectify this problem by incorporating the perspective of diverse interests, identifying the challenges facing market innovation and delivering fact-based answers to business owners and policymakers.”
The Fuels Institute is an independent think tank founded and managed by NACS. Its governing structure will incorporate a diverse set of stakeholders including, but not limited to, fuel retailers, fuel producers and refiners, alternative and renewable fuel producers, automobile manufacturers, environmental advocates, consumer organizations, academics, government entities and others with expertise in the fuels and automotive industries. Bill Douglass, managing partner of Sherman, Texas-based W. Douglass Ltd. and 2004-05 NACS chairman of the board, will serve as its inaugural chairman.
The Fuels Institute will commission and publish comprehensive, fact-based research projects that address the issues identified by the affected stakeholders. These projects will help to inform both business owners considering long-term investment decisions and policymakers considering legislation and regulations affecting the market.
“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first purpose-built fueling station,” noted Eichberger. “It is our goal that The Fuels Institute, by cutting through the political rhetoric, fostering a collaborative environment and delivering fact-based, credible analysis, will play a huge role in shaping an economically and environmentally sustainable U.S. transportation fuels system for the next 100 years.”
Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 149,000 stores across the country, posted $681 billion in total sales in 2011, of which $486 billion were motor fuels sales. Convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the fuels purchased in the United States.