The 2009 Sourcebook

 



The 2009 edition of the Fuel Oil News SourceBook is based upon an e-mail blast to over 5,000 members of our readership and was facilitated by an online answer process. As noted with each issue of the survey, there are no claims that this is an absolute, granular insight into every market and business model being practiced by industry members. Look on it, rather, as a general overview of a slice of the industry.


New this year, is a focus on the national data average instead of offering regional breakouts. Our gross response rate is typically in the hundreds (167 this year), yet the regional responses for the South and Midwest (and this year, the West) have shrunk to the point where the data is inadequate for meaningful results. This is particularly the case when you have skewed responses in those regions from operations that might not be of typical scale or typical business focus.


For the data itself, some respondents might be a smaller dealer operations, and others larger marketer supplier operations that offer some retail service. That mix will dynamically change each year. We comb though the data to eliminate failed survey responses, and we then we look to provide a more median based average, where we eliminate the largest and smallest companies from the mix since, in some cases, a particularly large respondent can dramatically skew the general results relative to the average FON reader.


For general background information, the regional dispersion of the respondents is as follows:


 


Table 1

NEW ENGLAND: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island

33.5%

MID-ATLANTIC: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Washington, D.C.

41.9%

SOUTH: Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida

7.8%

MIDWEST: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin

10.2%

WEST: Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii

6.6%


 


 


This year’s panel


Tables 2-4 outlined the general business models of this year’s respondents. Some 71% of respondents reported petroleum as their primary source of income. The percentages reflect companies that reported these areas as a primary or secondary sources of income (but not necessarily THE primary or secondary source of income).  Where primary sources of income are concerned, retail fuel oil sales average out at 68%; bulk fuel oil sales at 9%; retail gasoline at 5%; bulk gasoline at 5%; propane at 4%; heating equipment at 19% and air-conditioning at 13%.


 


Table 2


What were your company’s sources of business income?

 

Primary

   Secondary

Retail fuel oil

68%

11%

Bulk fuel oil

9%

20%

Retail gasoline

5%

4%

Bulk gasoline

5%

6%

LPG/LNG, retail or bulk

4%

2%

Heating equipment sales

19%

16%

Air-conditioning equipment sales

13%

15%

Other

13%

6%


 


Some 13 percent of respondents cited ‘other” sources of income as a primary or secondary source of income. These included diesel fuel sales, equipment servicing, the mid-stream refueling of tow boats, environmental services, refining, home appliances, plumbing, pool water, C-store and QSR, real estate, and lubricants.


 


Table 3 covers the average size of the business by charting the average number of retail customers, commercial customers and employees.  Our 2009 data indicates that this year’s respondents were slightly larger companies than those last year.


 

TABLE 3

 

 

Average Size of Business

 

   No. of

 C/I

No. of

 residential

Accts.

Employees

2,522

343

19

 


The larger sized companies were also represented in this year’s average volume figures (Table 4). Looking at the raw data, we saw the participation of several notably large marketers involved in diesel sales.


 

TABLE 4

 

 

 

 

 

Average Volume of all respondents

 

 

 

  Gals.of

  Gals.of

Gals.of

Gals.of

Gals.of

 

Heating Oil

 Kerosene  

Gasoline

Diesel

Propane

 

2,050,905

172,696

1,032,143

3,045,709

464,861

 

 


Table 5 provides an overview of the respondents’ customer base.  As is typically the case, the majority of the customers ‘76% ‘ were residential. With some minor changes ‘ slightly more apartment and commercial business this year ‘ the figures were relatively in line with those from 2008.


 

TABLE 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annual Heating Oil Sales by Types of Customers

 

 

(Percent of total customers served)

 

 

 

 

Private

 

Com-

Indus-

 

 

Homes

Apts.

mercial

trial

Other

 

76%

6%

14%

2%

2%

 

 


Table 6 covers Total Annual Company Dollar Revenues. Roughly 59% of the companies fell in the $5 million or under range. Some 72% of all respondents had revenues under $10 million. The greatest shift from last year was the participation of several very large operations. While the impact of these companies was generally accounted for and reduced to limit an excessive influence in the tables, it still flavors much of the data.

TABLE 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Annual Company Dollar Revenues in Millions

 

 

 

 

     (Percent of marketers in each category)

 

 

 

 

 

Less than 1

1-5

5-10

10-25

25-50

Greater than 50

 

22%

37%

13%

11%

13%

4%

 

 

 


The data for Pre-Tax earnings (Table 7) are roughly in line with the revenue figures.


 

TABLE 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Tax Earnings

 

 

 

 

 

  (Percent of marketers in each category)

 

 

 

Less than $50,000

$50,000 – $250,000

$250,000-$500,000

More Than $500,000

 

24%

40%

27%

11%

 

 

 


Computerization


The 2009 respondents indicated that their headquarters’ operations were highly computerized for the typical accounting back office functions. Where specific applications are concerned (Table 8/Chart) general ledger (90%), accounts receivable (81%), and accounts payable (81%) were by far the heaviest used software applications. As would be expected word processing and payroll software saw heavy use. It was more of a mixed bag where product tracking and field operations are concerned. A total of 55% used inventory reconciliation systems, 26% routing and 13% mapping/automated delivery.


 

TABLE 8

 

 

Percent of marketers using listed computer applications

 

 

 

General ledger

90%

Accounts payable

81%

Accounts receivable/billing

81%

Inventory reconciliation

55%

Routing

26%

Mapping/automatic delivery

13%

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