Companies in this industry sell fuel oil and liquefied petroleum (LP) gas. Major companies include AmeriGas Partners, Ferrellgas Partners, and Star Gas Partners, all based in the US, as well as Japan's Mitsui & Co, Ultrapar Participações of Brazil, and Dutch firm SHV Holdings.
Residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural heating needs drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, low-cost purchasing, and competitive pricing. Large companies have advantages in purchasing, finance, and distribution. Small companies can compete effectively by serving a local market, offering unique products, or providing special services. Fuel dealers compete with suppliers of other energy sources, including electricity and natural gas. The US fuel dealer industry is fragmented: the top 50 companies account for about 40% of sales.
Products, Operations & Technology
Fuel oil and LP gas each account for about 40% of US fuel dealers' sales; automotive fuels account for another 10%. Fuel oil includes various grades (mostly No. 2 for heating) and kerosene. LP gas includes bulk and bottled forms. Propane accounts for the majority of LP gas sales. Auto fuels include diesel fuel and gasoline. LP gas dealers may rent storage tanks to customers or have portable tank exchanges. Companies may also sell, install, or service heating equipment.