What’s Your Favorite Gas Station Chain?

Illustration for article titled What's Your Favorite Gas Station Chain?

Photo: JIM WATSON / AFP (Getty Images)

At least once a month, my small Twitter feed erupts into debate about gas station chains. And I have to ask: are you folks as passionate about gas stations?

Now, I should preface this by saying that these are more than just gas stations. They’re usually convenience stores as well, with hot-and-ready food services. Stuff like Wawa, Sheetz, Bucc-ee’s, Royal Farms. And people are ready to fight and die for these chains with a passionate abandon I believed was only reserved for, like, action movie protagonists.

I got my first taste of it when I went on a road trip to Pocono Raceway with a friend. They were adamant that we stop nowhere but a Sheetz, “because fuck Wawa.” I was perplexed, but the Sheetz chicken bites I ate there were good, so I just kind of let it slide.

And then I started dating a guy from New Jersey who was horrified that I’d been to a Sheetz, not a Wawa, and dared to enjoy it. He was even upset that some of his friends dared to try Royal Farms when that started popping up. When I later moved just north of Philadelphia, there was a Wawa literally next door (as in, so close that some GPS systems would take you to the Wawa instead of my apartment). They have customizable mac n’ cheese bowls that I can load up with bacon, caramelized onions, chicken tenders, and spicy honey, so I have to admit, my allegiance lies with them.

But of course, I’m from Texas, so nothing is better for me than Bucc-ee’s, which is something of a legend here. Bucc-ee’s doesn’t advertise its gas prices until you get to the pump because, as my stepdad once informed me, “everyone knows they have the cheapest gas.” Walk inside this massive store, and you’ll find hot food, fresh fudge, essentially an entire grocery store, racks of clothes and toys, and enough items to furnish an entire home, both inside and out. Need to have a last minute crawfish boil? You can get everything you need at Bucc-ee’s. My husband was telling me I should stop at an Auto Zone and see if they had a tailgate hitch for our Suburban, and I was like, “bro I bet they’ll have one at Bucc-ee’s.” It’s an institution.

I’m sure there are some gas stations that I’m completely unaware of, so please: enlighten me. Defend your favorite chain’s honor.

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