Each month, Arkansas Money & Politics profiles three professional associations to explore the business, industry, governmental and not-for-profit agencies impacting law, commerce and goodwill across the state. The magazine tells their stories to give readers a better understanding of who they are, where they stand and the positions they are backing.
Arkansas Oil Marketers Association
The Arkansas Oil Marketers Association (AOMA) serves convenience stores, truck stops, petroleum marketers and distributors and transport companies.
According to the National Association of Convenience Stores State Report, there are more than 18,000 stores in Arkansas that sell more than $4 million in fuel annually.
“Our association members either own and operate or supply the overwhelming majority of those stores,” says Steve Ferren, AOMA executive vice president.
Members of the association range from large corporations, like Kum & Go, to small mom & pop shops from all over the state. They have the major perk of having the ear of the state capitol as well as being a part of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America’s voice on the federal level. Highway funding has been on AOMA’s agenda at the capitol lately.
“Selfishly, our customers drive on roads to get to us, and we drive on roads to deliver our products to our customers,” Ferren says.
It is difficult to come up with a solution to the highway funding issue without penalizing the oil industry with higher taxes. However, Ferren feels that legislation is moving in the right direction to solve the problem in a way that benefits everyone.
Alcohol regulations and anything to do with small business are also of interest to AOMA.
“We try to keep our members in a good relationship with all the regulatory and state agencies.”
Members are always kept up to date on new regulations, and the association will even send reminders to renew your state registration, Ferren says.
AOMA works with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, State Fire Marshalls and Department of Labor to ensure that members are following regulations and staying in compliance.
“If people have questions, they can call us, and we can either point them in the right direction or sometimes ask the questions for them,” Ferren says.
Major changes in the transportation industry could bring major impacts to the oil marketing world. Ever-increasing gas mileage regulations and the popularity of electric cars with extended battery life have made the future of the industry hazy. New technologies in the automobile industry will mean fewer stops at gas stations and lower sales for convenience stores.
“Some people are going to electric cars, and they charge them at home. So, they won’t come see us at all unless they’re traveling,” Ferren says.