We've discussed in the past that Buc-ee's is far more than a gas station. However, that doesn't mean that being a gas station is a critical part of its identity.
For instance, we've mentioned before that Buc-ee's offered cheap gas when it first opened in Florida as a way to lure customers away from other nearby gas stations to it. Of course, those other gas stations had to compete or lose customers to their new neighbor. So, it's not that gas isn't important to Buc-ee's and its business model; it is just part of a bigger picture.
As Cheddar News producer Natalia Ryzak explains in the video above, fuel for personal and commercial vehicle use has a very low profit margin. There are a lot of costs from extracting the raw material from the earth, to refining it, and then transporting it to the station. Don't forget the storage, marketing, and absolutely essentially environmental protection measures. Y'all don't want the nearby gas station's tanks leaking its fuel into y'all's groundwater. Oh yeah, then there are the cost from buying for the fuel distributor and taxes as well. Then there's competition from the other nearby gas stations as well as those along potential customers' journeys in the general vicinity. Thus, that leaves very little money left for the gas station owner to pocket.
That's why gas stations offer a lot of snacks, food, and other services. There are higher profit margins for beverages, food, vices (smoking, lotto, etc.), and merchandise. Buc-ee's isn't the only chain that strives to offer higher-end grub and services; there are chains like Wawa, Maverik, Sheetz, Allsup's, and Rutter's joining Buc-ee's in the high-end convenience store space. Don't forget those trucker stops (reminder: no semi-trucks at Buc-ee's), too. Some of those are nice.
However, as great as those other chains are, Buc-ee's stands alone at the top of the heap -- just check out Food & Wine's best convenience store rankings from December 2019. One of the reasons why it ranks Buc-ee's first is that "the thoughtfully-run company is your friend on the open road." We couldn't agree more. Buc-ee's is for road trippers, commuters, and joyriders.
With a cult following and all sorts of Texan and southern kitsch, Buc-ee's bestsellers are among the reasons why the chain is doing so well and is expanding beyond the Lone Star State. Buying gas is only a small part of the reason why y'all stop by, and by selling a diversified range of products beyond just gas -- it helps Buc-ee's remain financially healthy.
Until Buc-ee's sets up shop near y'all, give us a holler, and we'll try our darndest to ship a bit of Heaven y'all's way.