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Almost all Utahns interact often with a fuel marketer. These local gas stations can be independently owned and operated or part of a national chain. They deliver fuel to consumers and are the end of an amazing chain that bring Utah's natural resources full circle to the benefit of Utah drivers.

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What is a Petroleum Marketer?

A petroleum marketer is any person or company that takes possession of refined petroleum products for the purpose of reselling those products. This broad definition of a petroleum marketer encompasses a wide range of commercial businesses from wholesale to retail operations. A petroleum marketer often owns gasoline stations, convenience stores, heating oil businesses, truck stops, lubricant warehouses, petroleum trucking companies and bulk storage facilities.

The majority of petroleum marketers are small businesses as defined by SBA. These companies are very diverse but all have one thing in common, they all bring to market liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, ethanol, biodiesel, jet fuel and kerosene. They are engaged in the transport, storage and sale of petroleum products on both the wholesale and retail levels. They supply gasoline to convenience stores, diesel to truck stops, lubricants to industry and other oil products to thousands of customers in Utah. Not only are these companies primary suppliers of fuels they also own and/or operate approximately 900 retail facilities in Utah.

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Who Owns Your Local Gas Station?

Many people wonder if major oil companies own most gas stations. The answer is no. Major integrated oil companies own about 2% of the 152,995 retail stations nationwide and operate about a third of the retail stations that they do own. When a station bears a particular company’s brand, it does not mean that company owns or operates the station. The vast majority of branded stations are owned and operated by independent retailers licensed to represent that brand. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), 58% of the retail stations in the US are owned by an individual or family that owns a single store. Through various branding agreements, approximately 36% of the retail stations in the US sell fuel under major company’s brands.

Who owns the rest of the stations? Independent owners. They may own just one station, or they could own several stations, or they could own hundreds of stations. Can these independent owners also sell the major brands of gasoline? The answer is yes. Independents and jobbers can sell gasoline under the brand of one major company or multiple major companies, as well as have their own brand of fuel.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is there ethanol in my gasoline and will it affect my car?

    In order to meet the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) included as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, gas ethanol blends have been introduced around the country, including Utah. Ethanol is a non fossil fuel that is produced from a variety of agricultural crops such as sugarcane, corn and other grains.

    Almost all gasoline now has some ethanol in it but in Utah, that amount will not exceed 10%. Gasoline with 10% ethanol content is known as E10, and with 15% ethanol it’s known as E15. Ethanol flex fuel (formerly known as E85) has between 51 and 83% ethanol with the remainder being gasoline. All gasoline vehicles can use E10. E15 is only appropriate for use in Flex Fuel vehicles or a very small percentage of the newest vehicles. Anything higher than E15 ethanol content is only appropriate in Flex Fuel vehicles. Check your owner’s manual to find out what your vehicle needs.

    Gasoline with 10% ethanol is approved for use by all automotive vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. and will perform properly. In addition, most small engine manufacturers also accept the use of E10, but we recommend consulting your owner’s manual for fuel recommendations.

    More Information: Renewable Fuel Standard Facts (API)

  • Why is Utah’s regular unleaded only 85 octane?

    Octane is the ability of a fuel to resist knock. In high-altitude areas, like Utah, fuels with an octane rating of 85 are sold because the atmosphere is at a lower pressure than at sea level. The compression pressure in a naturally aspirated engine will therefore be lower than at sea level, meaning a more "volatile" fuel can be used safely in higher altitudes (i.e., an engine that normally runs on an octane rating of 87 at sea level will run just fine on an octane rating of 85 at higher altitudes).

  • Why do gas prices go up and down so much?

    Gasoline is a commodity just like milk, a new car, or a pair of shoes. The only difference is that it’s at the end of an extremely large and complex industry that is affected by world politics and economies. The fact remains, however, that the basic economic principles of supply and demand still apply. The price of the major input to gasoline, crude oil, is a big factor in the price of gasoline. But it’s not the only factor. Refinery operations or disruptions, either locally or in surrounding states, can greatly affect the price of fuel. Utah’s seasonal driving seasons also play a big role in affecting the demand for gasoline. Not always, but typically, demand goes down in the winter and so do gas prices. The converse is also true. Demand is highest in the spring and summer and so are gas prices.

    For a more detailed discussion, visit the Fuel Prices page in our Issues section.

    More Information: What’s Up with Gasoline Prices? (API)

  • How much tax is on a gallon of gasoline?

    Since 1997, Utah’s state gasoline tax has been 24.5 cents per gallon (cpg). The federal gas tax is 18.4 cpg for a total motor fuel tax of 42.9 cpg. The state tax on diesel is also 24.5 cpg but the federal diesel tax is 24.4 cpg for a total of 48.9 cpg.

    The Utah Legislature in 2015 passed a major change to the format of the State’s gasoline tax moving forward. Beginning January 1, 2016, the tax will be based on the wholesale price of gasoline, similar to a sales tax. Initially, the rate will be 12% multiplied by an implied wholesale price of $2.45/gallon for a resulting state tax rate of 29.5 cpg for both gasoline and diesel. After the actual wholesale price of gasoline exceeds $2.45/gallon, the 12% rate will be applied to the higher price and float upwards, depending on the market for gasoline.

    More Information: Gasoline Tax (API)

  • Who regulates fuel pumps to make sure they dispense the right amount of gasoline?

    The Utah Division of Weights and Measures, a division of the Utah Department of Agriculture, is charged with the inspection of gasoline pumps in Utah for accuracy in measurement. They also inspect storage tanks for water and test fuel for quality (octane).

    More Information: Utah Division of Weights and Measures

  • What is a petroleum jobber?

    A jobber is a person or company that purchases quantities of refined fuel from refineries either for sale to retailers (e.g., gasoline stations), or to sell directly to the users of those products (e.g., home heating oil to homeowners, lubricating oils to industrial operations or repair shops, etc.). In essence, the jobber acts as the "middleman" between the company that refines the petroleum products and those that either use them or market them at retail prices. The jobber often owns the gasoline being sold, and the station it is being sold to, but allows an operator to lease the store.

    • As of 2015, Utah ranks 11th nationally in oil production and 12th among states in natural gas production.
    • There are currently 141 operating refineries in the United States with 5 located in Utah. Utah refineries produced over 36 million barrels (1.5 billion gallons) of motor gasoline in 2015 and over 19 million barrels (798 million gallons) of distillate fuel (diesel).
    • Well completions in Utah (both oil and gas) have declined dramatically over recent years as commodity prices plummeted and have stayed low. There were 1243 completions in 2008, 925 in 2014 and only 305 in 2015.
    • Duchesne (46%), Uintah (34%) and San Juan (12%) Counties accounted for 92% of oil production in Utah in 2015. The balance was produced collectively from Sevier, Grand, Summit, Carbon and Emery Counties.
    • The ratio of oil wells drilled in Utah versus natural gas wells has shifted significantly over recent years as commodity prices have affected company's drilling programs. In 2008, only 28% of wells drilled were for oil while in 2014, 76% of all wells drilled were primarily seeking oil.
    • Wages for energy-related jobs are nearly double the average annual wage for all employment in Utah.
    • In 2015 petroleum products and natural gas accounted for 59% of total energy consumed in Utah. Coal was responsible for 38% while all renewables combined made up 3% of energy use.
    • Utah refineries received record amounts of crude oil in 2014 and only slightly less in 2015, with 43% coming from in-state and 8% coming from Canada.
    • Fossil fuels made up 98% of Utah’s total energy production in 2015, while renewable sources accounted for only 2% of Utah’s production portfolio.
    • Property taxes charged against Utah oil and gas activities have increased more than six times since 1996, totaling nearly $64 million in 2015.
    • The value of crude oil produced in Utah reached an all-time inflation-adjusted high of $3.2 billion in 2014, but then dropped to only $1.5 billion in 2015 as commodity prices sank.
    • Natural gas production in Utah reached a record high in 2012 of 491 billion cubic feet, but has since dropped to 423 billion cubic feet in 2015.
    • Oil and gas operations in Utah account for about 1.3% of the State's gross state product. Utilities (including some non-energy sectors), refineries, and pipeline transportation and maintenance account for an additional 1.9%.
    • The last major refinery built in the United States was put into operation in 1977.
    • Utah’s average price of residential natural gas in 2015 was $9.72 per thousand cubic feet, the 17th lowest in the nation. As recently as 2011, Utah’s price was the third lowest in the nation, but new natural gas pipelines have better connected our once captive market with the rest of the United States.
    • Natural gas is the largest source of annual energy production in Utah, surpassing coal for the first time in 2010.
    • In 2015, 76% of the electricity generated in Utah was from coal-burning power plants. Electricity generation from natural-gas power plants more than doubled since 2007, increasing its total share in 2015 to 19%.
    • Utah produced 18% more energy than it consumed in 2015, continuing its status as a net-energy exporter. This percentage is usually closer to 30%, but production of fossil fuels was significantly down in 2015.
    • Energy-related employment in Utah declined to 15,367 in September of 2015 (down 16% from the 18,236 recorded in October 2014 prior to the oil price crash), of which the majority (30%) came from the oil and gas sector.
    • Average yearly wages in the energy sector ($83,400, first three quarters of 2015) are more than double the statewide average annual wage ($41,500, first three quarters of 2015).

UPA's voice is strengthened by companies like yours joining forces with us to work towards maintaining and improving Utah's favorable business climate.

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