Fuel Prices Raising Concern

As summer approaches, retailers are feeling the heat from volatile fuel prices.

A study by BDO USA, LLP found that while the economy remains the top risk for the nation’s largest retailers, concerns over fuel prices outpaced unemployment for the first time since 2009.

Of the 99 percent of retailers citing general economic conditions as a risk, 71 percent point to fuel prices as a primary reason, up from 58 percent last year. With tepid progress in job reports, 68 percent of retailers note lingering concerns over unemployment, but the risk is down from its peak in 2010 (70 percent).

The BDO RiskFactor Report for Retail Businesses, which examines the risk factors listed in the most recent SEC 10-K filings of the largest 100 public U.S. retailers, also found that IT infrastructure and security risks have increased, partially due to growth of the mobile platform. This year, concerns over the maintenance of IT systems and operations leaped from the 12th most cited risk factor to the 6th. Following the significant data breach at Global Payments, security risks jumped 31 percent from the 19th most cited risk factor to the 12th.

As retailers have more data than ever to protect and increasing endpoints due to the increased use of mobile devices, business interruption risks are also more worrisome.

Retailers also reported heightened concerns over geopolitical events and natural disasters, which moved from the 9th most cited risk factor to the 5th, largely due to the Japanese tsunami and volatility in the Middle East.

“Despite a dip in April, consumer spending has been improving, and retail executives feel that their strategy adjustments are on point,” said Doug Hart, partner in the Retail and Consumer Products Practice at BDO USA, LLP. “This year, there is an increasing concern over unknown external factors, such as IT security, supply chain disruptions and geo-political events that could derail the execution of their strategies. While retailers are also concerned about gas prices this summer, they are otherwise encouraged by consumer spending.”

While this may seem to favor fuel-efficient cars and/or electric vehicles, it also brings a shadow on how the EV infrastructure is being organized. Management of a car’s charging rate, payment for use of the public charger and interaction between the owner and the EV are all managed by some form of IT infrastructure.

  • James Davis

    They can’t say they didn’t see this coming. It has been here since the mid 70s, and when Bush escalated it in the 2000s, they should’ve started reversing it then with electric cars, and Detroit’s big three is not helping any with their greed, if anything, they are trying to make it worse and hold onto that cow’s tit until they get the last drop of crude sucked out of it.

    Smart businesses are already installing charging stations and offering their customers a free charge when they shop at their stores or work at their business. General Electric has a solar park that can charge 13 electric cars at a time in less than 30 minutes. The store or business that has enough foresight and installs that park can make a nice profit and the park will pay for itself in no time. This, out of control, gas pricing is only happening because we are allowing it to happen; in fact, we are even encouraging it to happen.

    If you cannot afford the gas, you cannot get to work, and if you cannot get to work, you do not have a job, and if you do not have a job, you cannot afford the expensive gas. It is a maddening circle that was designed by Bush and the rest of the conservatives to bring this country to its knees, and we are falling to our knees and opening our mouths to take the big one. We need to stop the conservatives with their agenda of death, destruction, poverty, and war for everyone except the ultra rich 1% and get clean energy and electric cars on the market as quickly as possible, then we can laugh at these greedy oil barons every time we pass a gas station.

  • AP

    When you say that the system of expensive gasoline was “designed by Bush,” remember that when he left office, gasoline cost about half as much as now.

    And Obama has consistently advocated higher fuel and energy prices, in order to reduce consumption. At one point, before his 2008 campaign, he said that under his energy program, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

    His words.

    If you want proof, you can easily find the video by googling “Obama necessarily skyrocket”.

  • Capt. Concernicus


    Don’t forget that gas prices skyrocketed up under Bush’s administration. They hit $4.50 by me in 2008 and GW Bush was POTUS. Gas prices went up every year GWB was in office…every year.

  • AP

    Copernicus, that’s a good point. It is still true that if Obama had his way, gasoline would cost MUCH more (about $8/gallon).

  • douglas prince

    What all you yahoos fail to realize is that NO president, politician, businessman, or other chucklehead can directly influence oil (and thus) gas prices.

    Since oil is a WORLD commodity, it takes several distinct factors to affect its sale price. Currently, the hat trick affecting world oil prices are: OPEC production and reserves, MidEast political (war & religious) tensions, and Wall Street speculators.

    Obama can say all he wants about wanting gas prices to be high. It has no more effect than being a talking point.

  • AP

    Actually the president can have a great deal to do with energy prices. Promoting “Cap and Trade” regulations (Obama’s plan) would have eventually doubled prices. Promoting a carbon tax would have done the same. Denying drilling permits raises the price of futures for oil, by sending a signal that American oil will be kept off the (WORLD) market.

    The president and the rest of the federal government have much more to do with oil prices than oil companies do!

  • James Davis

    Are you really that dimwitted, or just watch too much Faux News? When Bush came into office in 2000, gas in my area was $1.38 a gallon. When Bush left office in 2008, gas in my area was $4.15 a gallon. When Bush came into office in 2000 we had a $1.3 trillion surplus, when Bush left office in 2008, we had a $3.9 trillion deficit. Now that Obama is in office, gas in my area is $3.85 a gallon and has not crossed the $4.00 a gallon mark. Since Obama is in office, we have a $2.1 trillion deficit. So, tell me who is trying to bring this country to its knees…the democrats or the republicans?

    When Bush was in office, no one heard of electric cars or hybrid vehicles and oil companies, coal companies, and natural gas companies were polluting and destroying our country like there was no tomorrow. Now that Obama is in office, almost everyone knows about electric cars and hybrids and a lot of people even owns one or two. Now that Obama is in office, we are cleaning up and restoring our land, water and air. So tell me, who is the most caring about our environment – Bush or Obama – democrats or republicans? If Romney gets into office, he will plunge us back into the fossil age and our environment will start to die again and the electric and hybrid cars will be completely dead and stretch limos with oil derricks and dogs strapped on the roof will be the norm. Keep Obama in office and the conservatives out of power, they are killers of our economy and our environment.

  • AP

    James, thanks for being respectful and keeping the conversation from getting personal.

  • sukhwinderfoss

    it is not only your area. petrol prices rising in india.One could attribute this price rise to the fall in the value of rupee against dollars.Since the value has fallen, the Fuel Cos have to pay more in terms of rupees for the same amount of dollars. This results in them increasing the fuel price.It is the duty of the government to check the fall in the value of rupee against dollar.

    new cars india