How Do Gulf Area Truckstops View the Spill?


As the impact of the Gulf oil spill continues to hold the nation's interest, Highway Business Matters recently talked to truckstop and travel plaza managers in the region to understand their views on the situation.

Dallas Musgrave, vice president of operations for Rip Griffin Truck Service Center, Lubbock, Texas, is among the operators who told Highway Business Matters they have been largely unaffected by the spill. Musgrave said, "We have three travel centers, and sell bulk fuel as well, but there has been no problem getting the product we need."

Musgrave said his biggest concern over the spill is not fuel prices, but rather the commodity prices of product coming from the region.

"The market is already inflated food-wise, so any further increases will mean that our focus will change from one product to a more available item from another region, or even a different product altogether."

Louisiana oysters, wild-caught Gulf shrimp and the Louisiana blue crab are among the varieties of seafood that could be affected by the oil spill. While Musgrave does sell seafood, he said his largest seller is catfish. Since it is mostly a product of catfish farms, he doesn't expect the prices to increase.

Other truckstops and travel plazas said they weren't alarmed over potential price spikes because seafood represents a small portion of their sales. "We do mostly ribs, chicken and beef, so we aren't as concerned about the cost of seafood," said Linda Scott, general manager of Oasis Travel Center in Robertsdale, Ala.

Scott said that overall sales at her location, including diesel fuel, restaurant and store sales, have increased. However, gas sales are down at the business, which is BP branded for gas.  "When a customer asks us about it, we tell them we are independently owned, but they don't always understand."

Business owners who are experiencing a loss in profits as a result of the spill could be eligible for compensation from BP. The oil company has informed station owners and operators nationwide that they will be receiving financial compensation, reductions in credit card fees and assistance with national advertising to help BP-branded locations offset any losses. John Kleine, executive director of the BP Amoco Marketers Association, estimates the total package to be roughly $50 million to $70 million.

Overall BP has created a $20 billion claim fund and as of July 13 it has paid out $177 million, the company said on its website. To be eligible, business owners need to provide information about the nature of the income stream, evidence of historical income, and evidence of the link between the loss and the incident. Business owners who would like to discuss potential claims can call 1-800-440-0858.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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