Speedway gasoline sales fell in 2012 as prices rose - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Speedway gasoline sales fell in 2012 as prices rose

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Higher gasoline prices resulted in a slight decrease in sales at Speedway convenience stores in the fourth quarter of 2012, but sales are up so far in January despite even higher prices.

In a conference call with investment analysts on Jan. 30, executives of Marathon Petroleum, which owns the Speedway chain, said the average pump price of gasoline in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $3.32, compared with $3.20 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Same-store gasoline sales in the fourth quarter were down two-tenths of 1 percent mainly because of price increases. January 2013 sales show a slight increase over January.

In its earnings report for 2012, Marathon said the average profit per gallon sold at Speedway stores was 14.24 cents per gallon in the fourth quarter, up from 14 cents in the fourth quarter in 2012. For all of 2012, the average profit was 13.18 cents, up from 13.08 cents in 2011.

Marathon is the primary supplier of gasoline and other petroleum products to much of southern West Virginia, including the Huntington and Charleston markets.

Company officials also discussed, among other things, plans for shipping crude oil and condensates from wells in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio to the refinery at Catlettsburg, Ky., near Huntington. Marathon plans to invest more than $300 million on that program through 2014, said Don Templin, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Mike Palmer, senior vice president of supply, distribution and planning, acknowledged that oil production from the Utica shale has not met producers' expectations. Of 200 wells drilled, only 50 are producing crude oil and condensates, although that number is expected to increase by mid-year, Palmer said.

Overall, Marathon reported earnings of $3.4 billion on revenues of $82.2 billion last year, up from $2.4 billion earnings on $78.6 billion of revenue in 2011.