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QuikTrip returns to original site at 51st and Peoria

BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Posted with permission from the Tulsa World.
Friday, October 12, 2012
10/12/2012 4:20:53 AM

The brand new QuikTrip at Peoria Avenue and Interstate 44 might be just a few feet from the company's original store built in 1958, but it's giving customers an option never available at its locations in Oklahoma. 

QuikTrip Corp. is offering ethanol-free gasoline at all 20 pumps at the new store, appealing to some critics of gas blended with the biofuel. 

The new QuikTrip opened Thursday on the site of the former Camelot Hotel, a historical landmark itself that ended up in disrepair before the convenience chain purchased the building in 2007 and tore it down. 

The new store is the Tulsa-based company's next-generation model, which was rolled out in 2010 and is now incorporated into all new locations. The bigger stores have more drink and food options, a coffee bar and more fuel pumps. 

QuikTrip also owns a larger piece of property than normal for this store, giving it room to put in the additional tanks needed for the "clear gas," said company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh. 

He said QuikTrip has seen growing demand for ethanol-free gasoline, but the chain isn't sure if the new product will sell well or bring in more customers. 

The new store and fuel option will be somewhat of a trial for the company. 

Ethanol-blended gasoline has received some criticism for being detrimental to older vehicle engines. Critics also say the fuel, mostly made from corn, is driving up food prices across the country. 

Several stations around town advertise ethanol-free gasoline, but it does come at a price. The fuel at QuikTrip was priced at $3.479 a gallon Thursday, 12 cents higher than its ethanol-blend counterparts. 

Ethanol blends and "clear gas" have the same 87 octane level. 

The new QuikTrip store offers five types of fuel: diesel, ethanol-free and three levels of ethanol-blended gas. 

Thornbrugh said Oklahoma is one of only a few states that are allowed to sell the ethanol-free gasoline, so the trend won't expand to every new QuikTrip store. But if it proves popular, it could be an addition at other area stores. 

The company has also discussed compressed natural gas filling stations, but the demand for CNG currently isn't big enough for a commercial rollout, Thornbrugh said. 

QuikTrip built its first store in 1958 just south of Interstate 44 on Peoria Avenue. That store moved several times throughout the years, and eventually the intersection was without a QuikTrip. Until Thursday, the company had a store a half-mile north, but it is now closed. 

That store was small, and the new location has prime access to travelers on the interstate. 

The old store is being stripped of signage, and soon the fuel tanks will be removed. Thornbrugh said the property has not been sold yet. 

Original Print Headline: QT at full circle