Fuels, why are they cheaper at supermarket pumps?

Fuels, why are they cheaper at supermarket pumps?


Surely at least once in your life you will have happened to pass in front of an affiliated petrol station or one of the directly adjacent supermarket brand; personally, when I happen to take the SS38 towards the Upper Valley I always see an Iperal distributor with much lower prices than the "classic brands", but where does this difference come from?

First of all let's make a clarification; the pumps in question are numerous and it is not necessary to go looking for them with the lantern. In fact, it is not uncommon to find “branded” pumps from Carrefour, Iperal, Il Gigante, Coop, Auchan, Conad and many others. All prices are periodically checked, as for "branded" pumps by the Government through the Fuel Price Watch and you can discover the most convenient brands.

What is the difference of concrete? We examined the price of two nearby pumps, less than 300 meters away, one from the supermarket and a more traditional one, detecting distant price thresholds. To avoid possible discussions we have decided not to mention the brands examined, but we guarantee that they are both well-known faces in the road transport sector; while the one affiliated with the shopping center offers petrol and diesel, respectively, at 1,499 euros / liter and 1,659 euros / liter, the “branded” pump reaches 1,559 euros / liter for gasoline and 1,679 euros / liter for diesel. A small difference for diesel, but more important for petrol; we specify that the surveys were taken on the same day and in self-service mode.| ); }

The quality of fuels

Let's start with order: the octane number, the ability of gasoline to achieve proper combustion by mixing with air, must comply with the requirements imposed and the Italian legislation imposes the minimum value as 95. Of course, it is possible to find a value, as in the case of Eni's Blu Super + petrol, of 98 octane which should allow better consumption, slightly higher performance and more accurate lubrication of the engine components. (We will return to this topic in a dedicated study that will be released in the next few days, we will update the article).

How is the quality of the fuel supplied monitored? On a cyclical basis, the competent bodies check the fuel supplied by the individual pumps with spot checks or following user feedback. In any case, their specifications are guaranteed by mandatory compliance with European standards for gasoline and diesel fuel.

Shopping and gasoline together is cheaper

Furthermore, as for no logo pumps (or white pumps), prices are lower because there are no additional costs that the big brands cannot do without, such as advertising, large number of employees and much more.

In addition to this precise market strategy, it is also important to consider loyalty programs that allow you to save on spending at the hypermarket or directly at the distributor.

The State thanks

As we know, thanks also to the recent cuts on excise duties, the price of fuel is linked to an almost interminable series of taxes; a mechanism applied throughout Europe, but which in Italy is exploited to the nth degree. With the "discounted" prices at supermarket pumps, it is not difficult to think that the liters dispensed are numerous and therefore all to the advantage of the State which, without excise duties, would deprive itself of a constant flow of money.

How to fill up with petrol

Even if we recognize that filling up with fuel could be a mechanical action known to all, we suggest reading this in-depth analysis if there is still any doubt; instead, if you have difficulty finding the right side to get gasoline, there are some small tricks that will allow you to never make mistakes again.

Exclusive: Shell plans $1.48B bio-refinery in Louisiana as part of transition away from fossil fuels

Preparations are underway at the site of Shell’s shuttered Convent refinery in Louisiana, where the oil major plans to build a $1.48 billion low-carbon fuels facility.  © Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg

Preparations are underway at the site of Shell’s shuttered Convent refinery in Louisiana, where the oil major plans to build a $1.48 billion low-carbon fuels facility. 

Preparations are underway at the site of Shell’s former Convent refinery in Louisiana, where the oil major plans to build a $1.48 billion low-carbon fuels facility. 


The project’s first phase would include a renewable fuels unit that would produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel from plant oils, animal fats and used cooking oils. The company said it is close to reaching a final investment decision, a precursor to construction, on that project.

The plan to repurpose Convent, northwest of New Orleans, is the first in a series of projects Shell is considering at its chemicals facilities along the Gulf Coast to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels. The regional spending plan, which is still in flux, could cost as much as $10 billion. 

RELATED: Shell CEO steps down after 8 years, will be replaced by renewables chief

The company is also considering new projects at facilities in Deer Park, east of Houston, and Geismar and Norco in Lousiana to help the company reduce emissions and provide reduced-carbon products and chemicals needed to advance the energy transition. 

“It's a very significant investment in the region,” said Emma Lewis, Shell’s senior vice president of Gulf Coast chemicals and products. “If you looked at Louisiana, and you thought about it as a country, it would be No. 3 or 4 in the Shell portfolio. Between the Gulf of Mexico offshore assets and chemicals and products, onshore assets, it's a hugely important place for Shell, not just in terms of our earnings today, but also in the future.”

Shell is prioritizing projects in the region based on the low-carbon products that are most in demand, Lewis said, which now include biodiesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Shell is one of the main suppliers of traditional aviation fuel, so it has strong relationships with airlines, she said. 

Hydrogen is already in demand as a transportation fuel, she said, so the company is considering producing it at the Convent site.

The Norco plant, meanwhile, will continue to produce traditional gasoline and distillate fuels powering the industry today. 

“All of our customers are in very different places in this transition,” Lewis said. “Some of them already want low-carbon or circular products today. Some of them only want low-carbon and circular products in some of their consumer goods, and some of them aren't really ready to make that switch.” 

The Geismar facility and the Deer Park facility would make chemicals needed during the energy transition, Lewis said. Geismar, for example, would make low-carbon detergents and chemicals used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

The company also is evaluating how to recycle butadiene, a chemical used to make car tires, so it can support tire-makers that promise to deliver new products made from recycled materials.

Shell plans to start building the low-carbon fuels project first, followed closely by the hydrogen and carbon-capture projects. 

The company has already begun demolishing parts of the former Convent refinery it won't need. In its current state, the site stands apart from the others, Lewis said.

“It's very quiet,” she said. “You can hear the birds singing, the flies buzzing and the crickets chirping, which is so weird to be on a unit like that. But it's really exciting just because you can envision what it could become.”


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