While price is still the number-one determinant in where someone shops for gas, about one in seven drivers consider fuel brand to be the top factor in their fuel purchasing decision. A branded contract also guarantees fuel supply, especially when supplies are tight. Supply guarantees can also smooth out extreme price volatility seen in the wholesale gas markets.
Operators also can benefit from the expertise provided by an oil company, which provides intelligence to the retailer on best practices, techniques to attract customers and training for operating a fuel retailing business. And as oil companies redefine what the brand is — whether the convenience of Speedpass or loyalty programs tied to grocery purchases offered by companies like Shell — there may be other non-fuel benefits to branding. For instance, a retailer may receive financial support such as an imaging allowance (loan) to improve the look of the store.