As we go to press, President Obama has just signed the financial reform act that offers some notable benefits to the industry. As the Petroleum Marketers Association of America noted in a release: “We have come a long, long way towards passing commodities futures market reform legislation.” PMAA and the New England Fuel Institute have led the effort to reform the futures market and worked closely with several hundred organizations to garner widespread lobbying support against the giant financial institutions that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting this legislation. Your calls and e-mails to members of Congress were vital and paved the way to ensure that passage of this important piece of legislation was successful.
The bill also works to counter abusive debit interchange fees (though not the credit side) and opens up discounts for cash, which are important to petroleum marketers in both fuel and C-store sales. The National Association for Convenience Stores deserves considerable credit for this success.
The bill itself is fairly controversial as to its ability to prevent a future crisis similar to the one we just endured, solving "too big to fail," and it adds layers of regulation that might impact lending and small business. It also pushes the government more forcefully into a direct influence over the financial sector. However, our industry had little control over those aspects either way and PMAA, NEFI and NACS deserve considerable credit for what they accomplished.
This issue also features our inaugural Fuel Oil News New Vendor Awards. A thriving industry needs new solutions that make business easier and more profitable.
These awards highlight new solution providers (as defined by being a first-time exhibitor at a major industry trade show) in the areas of the fuel product, HVAC and business solutions. While there are bound to be many "apples to oranges" comparisons in the judging, our panel of industry professionals were asked to rate the competitors on which company grabbed your interest the most, and generated the most excitement. We had an exceptionally strong field this year, the judging was close and we would like to thank all those who contributed to the process.