Energy companies have been extracting crude oil from the Permian Basin at unprecedented rates in recent years, but an oil boom is the last thing on the minds of most gas station owners in our area. Instead, many gas stations are looking for creative new ways to stay relevant in a world where electric vehicles may soon become the norm.
Although gasoline demand in the U.S. has remained relatively steady for the past decade, electric vehicles could cut demand in half by 2035, according to the Boston Consulting Group in Dallas.
Meanwhile, many younger Americans are choosing to forego car ownership in favor of using ridesharing apps and public transportation to get around. While electric vehicles haven’t begun to put a dent in gasoline demand just yet, this unique confluence of market forces is already pushing gas stations to stay ahead of the curve.
“For these stores to survive, they need to focus on the mobility more broadly and what customers need while traveling beyond just fuel,” said Tony Portera, managing director of Boston Consulting Group in Dallas during a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle.
In addition to installing electric vehicle charging stations, gas station owners are working hard to stay competitive by offering new products and services as well. You can now find fresh produce and ready-made meal options in many gas stations, for example, while others are adding Amazon lockers to the storefronts in an effort to increase foot traffic.
In the early 1990’s, there were about 200,000 gas stations in America. Today, there are less than 150,000. While this downward trend is almost certain to continue, the electric vehicle revolution doesn’t necessarily spell doom for America’s gas stations. Instead, it means that business owners will have to figure out what the travelers of the future will need when gasoline is no longer a necessity.