Independently Owned Gas Stations Having Rough Times

The first time gas prices went skyward in the 80's the mom and pop gas stations out in the country closed down. Now the ones located right in town are getting out of the gas business. Logansport Food Mart on the east loop in Nacogdoches has been in business for 20 years. For the first time, the Sands' family had to put paper bags over the pump nozzles and stop selling gas. Numerous independently stations around town are no longer selling gas or shutting down all together. Owners say they don't want to do this to customers, but they simply have to. It's a lesson of economics.

Lisa Sands explains,  " A Shell card, there's no fee, but the Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover and then the fleet cards, they're really high. Make 12 cents a gallon on diesel and might be a quarter a gallon, so I've lost 13 cents on that sale per gallon. It adds up. "

Now the family owned business will depend on profits from convenient food sales and foods from a hot grill to fill the cash register. Lisa knows she can get a better return on those items than the expensive gas. Sands knows the ledger books.  " A thousand gallons of unleaded is close to $4,000. If I spent $4,000 inside the store it would bring me back quite a bit of profit. $4,000 out here on the gas pumps, I might make $50 off of it after the fees and so forth. It's not there. "

Customer Stewart Hill stopped in for a soda. He said,  " I wish she could afford it being in the location it's at. It would help me out a lot, but some things you have to give up."

Lisa gave up her own station, located down the road, back when regular gas reached the $3.00 mark. For independent operators it's become an emergency fuel shut off. Lisa watches a truck pull up to the pumps and then as it pulls away without stopping. She sighs,  " There goes a customer. "