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Shifts in fuels supply chain allowed it to withstand pandemic

Longtime industry consultant explains how fuel kept flowing despite COVID

Gary Bevers talks about the fuel supply chain at Global Supply Chain Week. (Photo: FreightWaves)

This fireside chat recap is from Thursday, the third day of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: How the fuels supply chain held up during the pandemic

DETAILS: While there were shortages of all sorts of products during the pandemic, and many of them continue today, fuel supply never reached crisis levels. Supplies got tight but did not buckle. Longtime consultant Gary Bevers of Bevers & Co. reviews how that key part of the economy held up during those difficult times.


“The industry has figured out that you can’t have a 60-day delay to resupply a terminal in a big event.”

“The powers that be, the majors, are way upstream and then you have local distributors. Basically they all just stayed calm and waited for the other shoe to drop, whether there was going to be regulatory edicts put in place during hurricanes. But in this case the government sat on the sidelines and let the industry work it out for itself.”

(On the speed of price changes at the pump): “Most retailers are independents. The gas station owners are small guys and they look across the street at the other station because if they raise their price more than 2 cents, they lost customers. So they wait to follow Joe around the corner. They will run their margin down until they are almost making no money.”

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.