NACS Sets Up Think Tank for the Gas Tank

Fuels Institute dedicated to evaluating market issues related to what powers consumer vehicles

Published in CSP Daily News

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- NACS has formed The Fuels Institute, an independent, nonprofit, research-oriented think tank dedicated to evaluating the market issues related to consumer vehicles and the fuels that power them. 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.

"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."

The Fuels Institute's 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. It 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.

"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."

He added, "This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first purpose-built fueling station. 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. NACS has 2,200 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies that do business in nearly 50 countries.