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Food Quality Factors into Customers’ Gas Station Choice

April 17, 2017

National survey reveals gas prices still key in selecting a station.

After years of fighting negative perceptions about food quality, customers are finally coming around to the idea that many c-stores have fresh, healthy food.

What’s more, Americans are increasingly seeking out fueling locations based on the quality of the food associated with the gas station, according to new national survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

The association represents the convenience store industry, which sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the U.S.

While survey results show that gas price is still the primary determinant in selecting a station, an increasing percentage of consumers say that the quality of items inside the store dictates where they buy fuel. In fact, one in seven drivers (16%) say that the in-store offer is driving their fueling decision, a five-point increase since 2015.

A majority (51%) of American drivers still say that the gas price is the reason that they prefer a specific store or chain, but that is a six-point drop over the past two years.

Because of the expanded food and beverage offers at stores, fueling customers also are going inside the store more: 42% of those fueling up also went inside the store, a 7-point jump from two years ago. For those going inside, the most popular reasons were to pay for gas at the register (50%), buy a beverage (45%) or buy a snack (36%). More than one in five (22%) say they used the rest room. Overall, 8% say they bought a sandwich or meal, and that percentage jumps to 13% for younger consumers ages 18 to 34.

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