CEMA COVID-19 survey results

CEMA recently conducted a survey of heating fuel and motor fuel retailers regarding how they were responding to the current pandemic. Over a hundred marketers responded to these surveys. While full results are released to those taking the survey, here's a summary of some of the interesting responses.

Heating Fuels
Over 77% of heating fuels marketers said they applied for the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the SBA. These loan request were on average $446,000. Asked about how COVID-19 is affecting their business, 6.8% said employees had been diagnosed with the coronavirus; 32.8 had employees in quarantine because of exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19. Regarding working practices, 26% of respondents had employees working from home; however 24.7% had to lay off employees, though in many cases these were seasonal drivers. Over 36% of full service marketers still offered service normally, while just 1% cancelled service, and about 28% offered scaled-back service, such as emergency work only. While a handful of companies reduced employee pay, over 86% said they were paying employees normally.

Motor Fuels
Gas station owners and jobbers said fuel sales were down 43% in March compared to the same period last year; c-store sales were down 30%, though lottery sales were up 16.7%. Over half of the respondents applied for PPP loans. In-store sales were up for cleaning products, paper products, gloves, masks and personal protection equipment (PPE). Correspondingly, they reported these hard-to-get items: gloves, masks, PPE, cleaning products, eggs, and in one case, bait. For these companies, large numbers of office staff, some 70%, are working from home. Employees not reporting to work, mostly at the store level, number around 8%.