Is Speedway the #1 gas brand?

Recently I came upon an article that stated Speedway was ranked the number one gas brand for the fifth quarter in a row. It is a part of a multi-brand survey put out by Harris Interactive as the EquiTrend Brand Survey.

In the survey they ask people about different brands in different categories like favorite hotel (Marriott), fast food (Subway) and favorite airline (Southwest). They say they base the survey on six base measures including familiarity, quality, purchase consideration, brand expectations, distinctiveness and trust. A seventh was added this year due to the economy, value.

So, the big question is, does Speedway deserve this award? To help find that out, first I want to review my experiences at Speedway for you here. Then I want to hear from you in the comments and see what you think of the brand.

Speedway is a pretty familiar brand in these parts. They are the 800lb gorilla in the Indiana, Michigan and Ohio markets, so I can see them ranking high in this area. They also have a good ad campaign.

For gas, I haven’t had any that was bad quality in my life. Most gas comes from the same rack anyway depending on the area, so quality in gasoline is really a moot point to me. The quality of the store on the other hand sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.

Speedway stores come in three kinds; large lot, medium lot and small lot. Most of the large lot stores are of higher quality. They have a big enough lot that even with 10-14 pumps, maneuvering is easy, and there is usually parking right in front. The inside of the store can typically be a little cramped, especially when busy up near the cashiers. There is a wide selection of chips, candy, snack cakes, fountain and pre-packaged drinks, and store prepared food.

The medium lot stores carry 6-10 pumps, and are a little tighter to maneuver in. You usually have to park on the side of the store to park legally, although some people squeeze in parallel to the front of the store. The store inside is much more cramped, and the selection suffers a little, too. The feel of quality is diminished here because the shopping experience is just not as good.

This is nothing compared to the small lot stores, which have 4-6 pumps, not even enough room to park in front of the store, have a very small selection of items and more than two people inside the store is pushing it. I have seen quite a few small lot stores demolished and rebuilt, re-branded to Rich stations, or just let go. They really drag down the quality of the brand in my eyes.

The inside of the store is usually clean, and I also give them good marks for clean bathrooms. Generally while cramped, the shelves are usually well stocked, and organized. Cashiers are sometimes rude, but overall I’ve had good experiences with them. Sadly, the free air to pump up my tires is now gone, one of my biggest complaints as of late.

Everybody’s heard of the Speedy rewards program. It’s free to sign up, and you can use it to get free stuff on purchases at Speedway. It has been a declining program, as a whole, however. At first you could get 10 points a dollar on any purchase. But as gas prices increased, they dropped the points you could earn for fuel purchase to 10 points per gallon. I used to be able to save up enough points to get a car wash 2-3 times a year (around 5000 points) but now I just use it to get the occasional soda (750 points).

For fuel purchasers like me, it’s not much of a reward program anymore, unless of course I go inside to buy a $50 gas card for fuel purchases, which puts an instant 1000 points on top of the 200-300 I’ll get for fuel purchases. They have also had 5 cents a gallon off during the weekends in September. They also say they have a surprise for us in November. Also, if you signed up for the Speedway MasterCard from Chase, you’ve seen your points diminish as well, as Patrick has commented on here previously.

So, is Speedway the best C-Store experience for me? I would have to say my favorite C-Store is BP. They are almost always three things; never crowded due to the size and spacing of the store, friendly, and clean. Of course, that’s just my experience in Indiana. I’d like to see more MotoMarts here as well after my visit to St. Louis in the dead of summer this year. Nice, big, clean, well stocked and besides flavor shots for your fountain drinks, they also have energy shots. Yum and zoom.

So, what are your thoughts on Speedway? And what do you consider the best gas brand out there?

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10 comments on “Is Speedway the #1 gas brand?
  1. Jeff says:

    I’m a bit of a car fanatic, and all my current vehicles take 93 octane. To keep carbon buildup down, and air flowing freely through the engines, I am willing to pay a few cents more for the gas with additives. BP and Shell are the 2 locally available to me. You can by gasoline additives in the auto parts stores, but the overall cost is less paying for the premium fuels.

    just my 2c

  2. Brent says:

    Always been a BP fan myself. They are just nicer around here in Ohio.

    Oh, and my captcha word is buttocks.

  3. Josh says:

    I work for Speedway in the Grand Rapids area, and I must admit that the quality of the customer service has declined as the quality of employee benefits/appreciation has also declined. They sent us an internal email discussing virtually the same thing that the public release had to say.

    In regard to fuel with additives, Speedway fuel is the exact same blend as what is at Marathon stations – with STP additives.

  4. shelly says:

    I’m disappointed you didn’t defend our employer better. If you’re so unhappy with the decline in Benefits then why are you still employed there? I most defiantly feel that Speedway SuperAmerica deserves this recognition.

  5. Carl says:

    A few years ago, a Buick dealer mechanic told my wife not to use BP because it would eat the
    O Rings in fuel injector. He recommended Marathon, Sheetz and Speedway. Sheetz certainly has the nicest stores in northeast Ohio. Just got a new(previously owned) late model Buick and I was reading in the manual that you should only use “top tier gas” in these cars, including Marathon, EXXON, Shell, Conoco and others too numerous to mention. BP is not mentioned. From the What’s It Worth Department. Many times “top tier gas” appears on
    gas pump, according to manual.

  6. Brian says:

    I am one of the drivers you see delivering gasoline/diesel to stores like Speedway, Exxon, BP & Sam’s Club. First there are three parts to the gasoline you pump into your cars. First almost all gas contains 10% ethanol. The next parts is the base gasoline ranging from 84 to 93 octane. The last part is the detergent additive. There’s two types of loading “racks” as we call them, first is exchange racks. These racks despence products for name brand gas and wholesale/unbranded products. The base gasoline must be tested and suppliers like BP, Shell & Exxon must approve and accept the product meets their standards before allowing their additives to be injected during loading to become “branded gas”. Exchange racks accept gasoline from refineries from pipelines or barges and most of the time they have no idea what refinery it came from. The other rack is “brand only”. This is a rack that is operated by the brand and only sells that particular brand. Most racks are considered exchange. Its not uncommon to load Exxon gas at a Marathon or Kinder-Morgan. The dirty little secret in the gas industry is that all of the bas gasoline is the same except for octane ratings and Reed vapor pressure. The differance is the additives injected during loading. So the marketing of gas boils down to the additives. Here is what I know about who uses what additives. Since Marathon owns Speedway the Speedway gas is loaded exclusively at Marathon racks using Marathon’s additive BUT at a greatly reduced rate. Marathon brand gas is injected with their additive for all octane grades at 250ppm (parts per million). Speedway (and all of Marathons unbranded/wholesale gas) is injected with same additive but at 100ppm for all grades. The brand name of Marathons additive is HiTec 6550. Exxon recently changed from PurAdd to HiTec (can’t remember numbers) and it is injected at 300ppm for 87 & 89 octane and 500ppm for 93. BP uses Invigorate additive at 350ppm 87 & 89 & 550ppm for 93. Shell uses NEMO additive at 250ppm all grades. Sunoco will vary depending on what rack it was lifted. From a Sunoco rack it has SunPur, if lifted from an exchange rack it will most likely have the genieric or “house” additive for that rack. Unbranded/wholesale gasolines from exchange racks will have the minimum and cheapest additive allowed by federal law. Places like Sheetz, Murphy, Pilot & Kroger will shop the local racks every day to get the lowest price per gallon. So one load might be from Buckeye Terminals unbranded the next might be from Kinder-Morgan with Exxon branded the next might be from Marathon. What you get at branded stations (Marathon, Exxon/Mobil, BP, Shell & Chevron) is certain gas quality and additive performance. From unbranded stations you are getting the lowest cost products they could negotiate.
    The quick definition of octane ratings is a measure of how will the gas resists self igniting under pressure before the spark plug fires. The premature ignition of the gas is what causes knocking/pinging and loss of energy.
    Hope this helps.

  7. ardna fox says:

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  9. Gas Driver says:

    I too deliver gas in the Chicago/Indiana area. I have delivered to Speedways, Shells, Gas Citys (no longer in existence), Citgos and a ton of other wholesale no name gas stations. The driver above is correct on what he says about the difference being additive, but the difference in gas stations go much further than that. Speedway is a Wholesale Gas chain for Marathon. They are not required to carry Marathon gas. They will carry what ever is cheapest on the market at the time, be it Citgo, Mobil, BP or Marathons (all unbranded fuels) to their stations.

    I will only buy gas myself from a Speedway, Thorntons or any other “High Volume” gas station. Mobil, BP, Citgo and Shell have all sold their stations to private local owners that are contracted to use their store flags Branded Gas. These new owners are trying to maximize their profits and play the market on a daily bases. What this means is some station owners that sell lower volumes will let their tanks run as low as 750 gallons in a 15,000 or even 20,000 gallon tank. What does this mean? It means there is condensation in their tanks. It means you are pumping the bottom of their tanks when you fuel your car, and that means you are getting their slop!

    Gas is gas, but the best thing to do is go to a high volume station that doesn’t run their tanks as low as possible.

  10. Gas Driver says:

    And one more thing to add. Privately owned gas station owners are notorious for “over ordering” their Regular Unleaded gas. When this happens, all the 87 octane gas won’t fit in the proper tank. Then the station owner will ask the (percentage paid) driver to throw the rest over to their Premium 93 octane tank.

    The driver is being paid percentage. He will lose time, and time is money if he does the “proper thing” and diverts the gas over to another station. Do the math…..how many drivers are willing to spend that much time not being paid?

    Another suggestion. Never buy your Premium or Midgrade gas from a low volume privately owned station.

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