I’m a QT


I’m a QT guy.

I’m not talking about looks here. I’m talking about gas.

Here in Phoenix we have QT gas stations all over the place. QT is short for Quik Trip and it’s a chain based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Right now they have almost 600 stations operating around the southwest and midwest. The company calls them “stores”. All the QTs in our area are huge with 20 to 24 pumps.

So why am I writing about QT? Two reasons. The first is service. The employees are awesome. I watched a guy emptying trash cans today literally running from one to the next. The folks working the register are nearly always working two customers at a time. Inside the place is spotless. They also seem to be genuinely friendly.

But since I’m supposed to be writing about cars, I need to point out there is an automotive reason buy gas at QT. Like the old Hebrew National kosher hot dog commercial used to say, they answer to a higher standard. QT’s gas meets something called the Top Tier standard.  Top Tier was established back in 2004 by BMW, GM, Honda and Toyota. Volkswagen and Audi jumped on board in 2007. Top Tier gas basically contains a higher detergent level than is required by the EPA. According to the manufacturers, Top Tier gas does a better job of keeping carbon deposits from building up inside your engine. The goal is to make your engine last longer. You can buy it at a variety of gas stations ranging from Chevron to Shell.

This higher detergent level is controversial. Some folks say it’s nothing more than a marketing ploy by the manufacturers and the gas companies selling fuel that meets the standards. One argument says all you’d have to do is use a fuel system cleaning additive at about 100,000 to get the same result.

Now I’ve always been a believer that gas is gas. They all have to meet the same basic standards. I’m not enough of an engineer to have a clue as to whether Top Tier is going to make any difference at all. But if I can pay the same price (or less) to get Top Tier fuel, and have friendly staff with a clean, modern place to buy it, I’m in. If it really does make a difference, then I’m in a win-win situation. If it doesn’t, then I can at least sleep the peace of the ignorant and pretend I’m making a difference for the engine that’s working so hard every time I stomp the throttle.

That’s why I’m a QT kind of guy.

Check out an article from Harvard Business School on how Quik Trip’s investment in its employees is paying off.


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