In the third and fourth quarters of 2014, there was a substantial decline in wholesale fuel prices that was second only to the massive decline seen in the latter half of 2008. The result was that dealers' margins were temporarily inflated, causing the average margin across all of 2014 to be significantly higher than was seen in 2012 and 2013. Industry participants expected margins in 2015 to return to pre-2014 levels, but that did not happen. Indeed, for most stations in western Washington and Oregon, margins in 2015 were the same as the average seen across all of 2014, despite the fact that there were no atypical swings in wholesale prices in 2015. Margins largely continued to hold their ground in 2016. It appears that the industry—at least across most areas of the Pacific Northwest—have entered a new phase that we call "margin rationalization". Ever since hypermarketers began entering the regional market around 1999/2000, margins have been under pressure. This new industry phase of marginal rationalization has been long overdue.
The market for gas stations is out of balance right now, with demand for quality stations far outstripping the supply of such stations for sale. With the recent trend toward margin rationalization, dealers' cash flows have been enhanced, with two conflicting consequences for the market: (1) a number of dealers have become motivated to expand and acquire stations, thereby increasing demand for stations available for sale above the "normal" level of demand; (2) most dealers are content to enjoy their stronger cash flows to make up for the many lean years, thereby decreasing the supply of stations available for sale below the "normal" level of supply. This supply-demand imbalance has been amplified by the availability of relatively cheap debt capital to finance station acquisitions.
Over the last couple of years, most of the stations we have seen available for sale have largely been junk, to put it mildly, or they have been ridiculously overpriced. We would be highly reluctant to put any of our clients into those stations, especially at a price anywhere approaching the listing prices. We urge you to be extremely cautious with your evaluation of any gas station available for sale right now.
In addition to the listings found below and the others we are working on bringing to market, there are other gas stations not actively listed, but available for sale. In addition, with the right phone call from the right firm, it is possible that a station that is not otherwise available could be made to be available for sale. It is not unusual for deals to be made "in the shadows" since many gas station sellers don't want their station openly marketed. When you tap into our expertise, you tap into the opportunities that others miss. Contact us today so you don't miss out on those opportunities.
We've organized our listings based on the two primary criteria buyers use: business vs business with real estate, and geography. If the hyperlinks are not yet active on any of the listings, it is because the web page for that site is currently being built and will be up shortly. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Thank you!