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July 14, 2016

Party-list group sees mall developers opening own fuel service stations

PARTY-LIST group Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) sees the likes of SM Retail Inc., Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. and DoubleDragon Properties Corp. eventually establishing their own fuel service stations.
 
“As more Filipinos get to own cars, we anticipate mall developers ultimately making gas stations a big part of their strategy to draw in more shoppers and drive retail sales, just like Wal-Mart Inc. in America,” LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty, a member of the House energy committee, said.
 
Citing a National Economic and Development Authority survey showing that “62 out of every 100 Filipinos want to own a car,” Ty said more families will be buying cars as they make it to the middle class, thus spurring the demand for new fuel stations.
 
“Right now, low-priced fuel gasoline and diesel are also helping boost car sales,” he said.
 
Owing to a vibrant economy and depressed lending rates, motor vehicle sales in the country soared 22.9 percent last year to 288,608 units versus 234,747 units sold in 2014. Passenger car sales, in particular, jumped 29 percent to 116,381 units in 2015 compared to 2014’s 90,287 units sold.
 
“Our projection is that developers will likely put up their own brand of fuel stations next to their malls, and not just partner with existing oil firms,” Ty said.
 
“The retailers of the future will not just be after 24-hour fuel sales. They will also be after the additional purchases of items that are usually bought from convenience stores in gas stations,” he said.
 
The lawmaker said he would welcome SM, Robinsons and DoubleDragon, should they move into the retail market for petroleum products.
 
“We need robust competition in the retail space for gasoline, diesel, LPG and kerosene to provide consumers fair and reasonable prices at the pump,” Ty, also a member of the House trade and industry committee, said.
 
LPG-MA has been batting for greater competition in the local petroleum market, and increased consumer protection against potential pricing abuses as well as unfair trade practices.
 
Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and Chevron Philippines Inc. continue to dominate the domestic fuel trade, though their combined market share declined to 60.4 percent in 2015 from 68.9 percent in 2015, according to the Department of Energy.
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