In our latest Divvy Research article, we analyzed the top gas stations for business purchases in 2019. We saw many of the popular names in fuel—like Shell and Chevron—but smaller franchises like Maverik and Sunoco surprised us.
We wondered what influenced buyers towards favorite fuel vendors: Are customers loyal to certain providers because of low prices, high rewards or go-to snacks? Or do business customers choose gas stations purely based on proximity?
We suspected these trends might be related to the regional popularity of certain gas stations, so we decided to see what our data revealed.
Most popular gas stations by state
To see which fuel vendors were most popular by region, we took our top 10 gas stations and filtered by state. (Quick recap: In order to find the most popular gas stations in the U.S., we filtered by MCCs 5541 and 5542, then sorted our list by total transaction count).
We chose to define “top” vendors by those with the highest transaction count instead of the highest spend. We did this in order to avoid only representing gas stations with the highest prices, and instead, measure gas stations that were visited most often (in other words, that were the most popular).
Here’s what we found:
For many vendors, loyalty varied by region. While popular names like Shell showed up across the map, other gas stations had clusters of states where they were the most frequented.
A few regional favorites:
- Chevron was the most popular in the Pacific.
- In the Rocky Mountain region, customers were loyal to Maverik.
- A majority of customers in the South chose Shell.
- The Virginias (and their neighbors) tend to prefer Sunoco gas.
- Speedway has a decent customer base in the Midwest.
Even for some of the less popular vendors on our lists, we saw clusters of states. For example, the three states that visited Phillips 66 most often, were centralized in the Midwest—Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.
Fuel stops or snack stops?
We ran into the same limitations with our methodology as our previous analysis. Because we filtered by MCC codes, we were unable to filter our non-fuel purchases. This means some of the transactions on our list could have been for snacks or cheap coffee.
We did, however, filter out convenience stores where possible. (For example, 7-Eleven was the top vendor in our last study, but we excluded it because not all of their locations sell gas—of the 106 7-Eleven locations in Chicago, only 1 is a gas station).
While the MCC codes did influence some biases in our data, we thought that our map presented a fair representation of fuel vendors—especially since the top 10 we pulled in our last data set consistently ranked among the top vendors when we separated the data by states.
Note: For Alaska, South Dakota, and West Virginia, we defaulted to the most popular gas station in that region to protect our customers’ privacy.