Gasoline retailing has changed dramatically over the last 25 years. While refiners often still have extensive networks of gasoline retailers, there is also a large independent sector in many countries. A study of the effects of entry by large general retailers finds benefits to consumers. There has been a vigorous debate about whether vertical separation between gasoline stations and upstream entities should be required. It appears that mandating vertical separation is linked with price increases to the ultimate consumers. On the other hand, mandated separation may promote the development of more independent stations. Policymakers often raise concerns about vertical integration in the supply of gasoline. These concerns should be moderated in markets with large independent segments. Even in markets with small independent segments, there are reasons to believe prices will be lower with vertical integration, as this eliminates a double mark-up.
Competition Policy for Vertical Relations in Gasoline Retailing