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U.S. Venture acquires Breakthrough Fuel

Fuel specialist U.S. Venture has now acquired 100 percent of fuel information company Breakthrough Fuel; Photo – Shutterstock.

Automotive parts, tires, fuels and lubricant specialist U.S. Venture has bought energy information and supply chain management company Breakthrough Fuel for an undisclosed sum. Both companies are based in Wisconsin.

USV has been invested in Breakthrough since 2006 and USV has been steadily building its stake “over the years” it said in a statement.

Breakthrough will operate “independently” within USV’s portfolio of businesses.

“Purchasing Breakthrough Fuel aligns with U.S. Venture’s strategy to diversify the business, and I’m excited about the ways our companies will partner to pursue products and services that are relevant for the future,” said John Schmidt, CEO and president of U.S. Venture.

Breakthrough will continue to operate in its home town of Green Bay. Acquirer USV is not far away – in Appleton.

Doug Mueller, CEO and president of Breakthrough, will continue to serve as CEO and will also join USV’s senior leadership team.

Breakthrough was founded in 2004. It offers several services to the transport industry and its flagship offering is its fuel management service. Breakthrough noted that the industry-standard method to settle the cost of diesel fuel reimbursements between shippers and carriers was flawed.

Settlement is based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update. The EIA is the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. The fuel update is comprised of a selection of regional average prices and a national average price. Breakthrough noted that actual fuel prices and consumption are complicated by such factors such as terrain, time, local taxes and varying local prices. The national average can vary significantly from granular actual data. Breakthrough’s fuel data, insight and management provides a variety of benefits, the company says.

In 2018, an “average” 10 million gallon customer achieved a 53 percent reduction in intermodal fuel spend; a 570,000 gallon reduction in consumption; over 5,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided (a metric ton is 2,204.6 U.S. pounds); and a 19 percent reduction in truckload fuel spend, Breakthrough stated.

Breakthrough also gave the example of a pharmaceutical company that saved $1.58 million, a reduction of 34 percent, on its fuel costs in the first year.

USV also stated that in 2018, Breakthrough helped its clients eliminate more than 8.9 million gallons of diesel fuel from their supply chains and reduce their collective carbon footprint by more than 90,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Other services offered by Breakthrough include fuel hedging and market advisory services looking at such matters as fuel price forecasts, geopolitics and fuel fundamentals. Breakthrough also provides supply chain management services focused on data, specific trade lanes, rapid response to network fluctuation and real-time routing.

USV was founded as a family business (Schmidt Oil Co.) in 1954 when Art Schmidt bought a fuel route with a loan from a member of his family. He was later joined by his brother Bill. The fledgling company expanded over time into bulk oil storage tanks, tires, car parts, terminals and lubricants. It was renamed U.S. Venture in 2010.

Today, USV has four main business areas: U.S. Oil; U.S. Autoforce; U.S. Lubricants; and U.S. Gain.

U.S. Oil offers oil (major brands and its own label) to convenience store owners. It also markets and supplies unbranded petroleum products and is a supplier of renewable fuels. U.S. Oil also trades and transports 100 million barrels (4.2 billion gallons) of refined products such as gasoline, ethanol and jet fuels, along with renewable fuels such as bio-diesel. It is also an oil terminal operator with about seven million barrels in bulk fuel storage tanks. It can market out of 330 terminals across the U.S.

U.S. Autoforce distributes tires, parts and lubricants to the automotive industry. U.S. Lubricants supplies, distributes and sells lubricants in the Midwest to the car, heavy duty, industrial and metal-working markets. U.S. Gain is focused on cleaner transport fuels such as compressed and renewable natural gas. It also operates, and is seeking to expand, a network of 50-plus stations.

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Jim Wilson, Australia Correspondent

Sydney-based journalist and photojournalist, Jim Wilson, is the Australia Correspondent for FreightWaves. Since beginning his journalism career in 2000, Jim has primarily worked as a business reporter, editor, and manager for maritime publications in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. He has won several awards for logistics-related journalism and has had photography published in the global maritime press. Jim has also run publications focused on human resources management, workplace health and safety, venture capital, and law. He holds a degree in law and legal practice.

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