BOSTON — In third-quarter 2020, gas station visits surpassed pre-COVID levels, averaging 17% higher than GasBuddy’s footfall index according to the company’s latest report on consumer ratings and convenience-store foot traffic. The report analyzes more than 9 million consumer visits and 1 million ratings and reviews in the GasBuddy consumer app between July and September.
The third quarter brought warm weather, recommended outdoor gatherings and a strong preference for car travel over air travel that prompted summer road travel despite COVID concerns.
“Our data is showing signs of rebound when it comes to gas station visits,” said Bart Kloosterboer, vice president of strategy for GasBuddy, “People are starting to get more familiar and comfortable with their new norm, and are using their cars as ‘personal protective equipment.’ We saw a spike over the summer months, and as of Sept. 19, station visits are back in line with the first quarter before the coronavirus lockdowns.”
The report also reveals that station cleanliness drives visits. During the third quarter, stations with above-average cleanliness ratings drove 21% more visits than their below-average competitors, up 5 percentage points compared to the second quarter.
Lake Jackson, Texas-based Buc-ee’s (30-49 locations) received the top score for cleanliness. Brands that performed well in their respective segments include Des Moines, Iowa-based Fry’s (50-249 locations), Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco (250 - 999 locations), Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores (1,000-3,999 locations) and San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron (4,000+ locations).
Founded in 2000, Boston-based GasBuddy allows users to locate gas stations based on fuel prices, location, ratings and reviews.