What are the prospects for the fuel distribution sector? The debate is becoming more and more relevant in Europe, especially in light of the sustainability goals to achieve carbon neutrality in the long term.

That is why UPEI has been advocating to ensure a level playing field and fair competition in the European fuel distribution network, and has recently published its 2050 vision to address also this topic, among others.

Stressing on how the sector is constantly evolving, Cécile Nourigat, UPEI Secretary General, remarks that retail stations will continue to play a key role in the future, but they will have to respond promptly to new trends and challenges. 

1) Digitization

Simplifying payments process and improving the efficiency of all kind of operations, the opportunities offered by the internet of things and the use of big data will change the relation with customers and require a new approach.

2) Multi-service hubs

Customizing all the services and offering tailor-made solutions to customers (supervised car parks, fitness and shopping center next to parking areas...) is becoming more and more essential.
While some of the options are induced by legislation (for instance the regulation on rest times for drivers, and the subsequent need for equipped rest areas), others will have to adapt and reflect people's new lifestyle.

3) Multi-energy providers

The supply of fuels will have to be more diversified, and retail stations have to adapt to the fuels scenario by offering different fuels.
Since electric cars are estimated to represent around 10% of the car fleet at the European level by 2030, liquid fuels will remain relevant in the future, and will have to be available together with all the other options available.

The timing and priorities of the strategic business choices are influenced by European policies. The regulations that set limitations on the emission of CO2 for new registrations or the next integration to the regulation that sets goals for the introduction of gaseous, electric or hydrogen products will inevitably reflect on the mobility habits of people and goods within the European borders and therefore on the structure of the distribution network of the future.

Read the full article (in Italian) about the presentation given by Cécile Nourigat at the conference organised by Assopetroli-Assoenergia during the Oil&nonOil exhibition in Rome (23-24 October 2019).

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