“More than half the gas stations in the country are single-store operations run by an individual or a family, according to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACS), a trade association representing the stores that sell more than 80 percent of the gasoline American consumers use.
A “Shell” or “Exxon” logo on the canopy above a filling station doesn’t mean those oil companies own the gas station. All it means is that the station’s owners have contracted with that company for the right to advertise the well-known brand.”
“And those gas station owners aren’t raking in massive profits, either. Over the past five years, retailer gross margins have averaged 10.7 percent of the overall price of gas, according to NACS data. But most of those profits come from selling food, drinks, cigarettes, and the like.
The Hustle, a business and tech newsletter, put together a useful breakdown of the economics of gas stations last year. “Selling gas generally isn’t very profitable” due largely to intense price competition among retailers and the ease with which consumers can shop around (because they are literally in their cars). On fuel alone, gas stations have an average margin of 1.4 percent.If gas stations sold fuel at cost, consumers might hardly notice the difference—but the small-time entrepreneurs running those stations would have a harder time making ends meet.”