You may not think twice about pulling into a Raceway gas station when driving in your passenger vehicle.
However, RVers must be picky about which stations to pull into. If not, they could find themselves in a difficult situation, causing damage to their rig or the store’s property.
So are Raceway gas stations equipped to handle your camper?
Let’s look and see!
What Are Raceway Gas Stations?
Raceway gas stations are a popular spot for travelers to fill up their tanks, grab a bite to eat, and stock up on snacks for the road. They operate 200+ locations in 11 states, primarily in the Southeast United States. You can find them from Texas to Maryland and everywhere in between.
The company began back in 1934 in St. Louis, Missouri. Carl Bolch, Sr. started an independent gas station that launched Carl Bolch Trackside Stations. In 1976 the company launched the RaceTrac and RaceWay brands to differentiate contractor-operated stores.
Locations typically have a mixture of unleaded and diesel pumps. However, services and offerings can vary from location to location. What doesn’t change is that each store has just about everything a driver could ask for from pit stop, including clean restrooms. While cleanliness can differ from location to location, they have a reputation for having neat and well-maintained facilities.
Who Owns Raceway Gas Stations?
Many of the Raceway gas stations are owned by the parent company, RaceTrac, Inc. This means that the corporation owns the land, the building, and the pumps. However, franchisees rent the building and profit from items sold inside the store. This allows a business owner to run a multi-million dollar operation with minimal capital investment.
You’re supporting a local franchisee by purchasing snacks, beverages, or meals at these locations. This is important to keep in mind when you’re choosing a fuel station. It’s also important to remember when you complain to the clerk about the prices at the pump.
While the stations handle many transactions, they have little to no say regarding fuel prices. The parent company adjusts prices based on supply, demand, and market value.
Can RVers Use Raceway Gas Stations?
Unfortunately, most Raceway gas stations can’t handle big rigs, including RVs. You may not be able to position your rig close enough to the pump without blocking traffic or other drivers. While the overhead clearance typically isn’t a big deal, they’re not large stores or parking lots. They usually have minimal amounts of space for making wide turns.
Even if you can maneuver your rig near the fill-up station, getting out will be challenging. Many of these locations restrict the flow of traffic to increase safety. The larger your rig, the lower your chances of being able to use Raceway gas stations.
If it’s your only option, use a satellite map to devise a plan for navigating the station. However, while you can plan your route to the pump, you can’t plan for other drivers. You may need patience for other drivers to fill up or get out of the way before you start maneuvering your rig to the pump.
Tips for Finding RV-Friendly Gas Stations
Finding RV-friendly pumps can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve found some resources and learned a few things during our travels. Let’s look at some resources you should use and tips that help us find pit stops that make it easy to keep our tanks full.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
One of the first things new RVers discover is that your rig requires a tremendous amount of fuel. Using technology can help you find nearby gas stations while also saving money. GasBuddy is one of the best apps for this.
Gas Buddy is available for Apple and Android devices and uses your phone’s GPS to search for fuel stops near you. Users can report prices and leave reviews for each location. You might discover that one place is 30 cents cheaper (or more) than another. Depending on how much you need in your tank, these savings can add up the more you use the app.
While there is no official “RV” filter in the app, there is a filter for “Truck Stops.” When searching for nearby stations, turn this filter on, and it’ll only show truck stops in the area. If the truck stop was built to handle 18-wheelers, it could take any camper.
Stick to Truck Stops
We’ve found that sticking to truck stops is best and helps us avoid squeezing into a tight space. You won’t always find this at a Raceway gas station. Many places have specific truck lanes and allow RVers to use these pumps. However, you’ll typically need to go inside and pre-pay for fuel at these stops.
Some of the most popular truck stops are Loves, Flying J, and Pilot. However, almost all of the major truck stops you’ll see along interstates have apps you can download. These apps can help you to find the nearest location for your favorite truck stop and even see what amenities they offer.
While most truck stops have showers, we’re seeing an increase in truck stops with RV dump stations, and some are beginning to provide power for a fee.
Fuel Up Tow Vehicles Unhitched
One of our best tips is to fill up your tank the night before you plan to hitch up your rig. Unless you’re towing hundreds of miles the next day, there’s a good chance you won’t have to stop for fuel on the way to your destination. There’s enough to worry about during travel days, and this tip can save you time and stress during those chaotic days.
Depending on where you’re traveling, your options for gas may be limited. As a result, some RVers have had to unhitch their rigs to accommodate places with low clearances. Make sure you chat with the station attendant before you unhitch. However, they’d likely rather your trailer sit in their parking lot for a few minutes than for you to damage their property.
Plan Your Stops When Planning Your Route
If you’re planning a long trip, you can’t just wing it. You could be running on E or in a frustrating situation without a solid plan. Trust us; while we’ve never made this mistake, we’ve heard our fair share of RVers who have.
Using an app like RV Life Trip Wizard can help you plan not only an individual route but an entire road trip. You can input information specific to your vehicle and traveling style, which can help you estimate when you’d need to stop for fuel. It’ll even suggest places known for being friendly for big rigs.
While RV life Trip Wizard can help you organize an entire road trip or camping season, other apps can help you plan your route. RVParky, RoadTrippers, and even Google Maps can be great options. Just be sure to avoid low clearances or any areas with propane, length, and weight limit restrictions.
Join Rewards and Fuel Discount Programs
Whether you drive a diesel or unleaded, you’ll buy a ton of fuel during your travels. If you’re buying it, you might as well take advantage of any loyalty or discount programs. These can help you save money and earn rewards that you can cash in later for free food, showers, or other items.
Many major gas stations and truck stops have these programs, including Raceway, Love’s, and Flying J/Pilot locations. However, TSD Logistics’ Open Roads program is one of the best fuel discount programs for RVers. By joining the program, drivers can take advantage of massive discounts per gallon.
This program also allows those in diesel vehicles to pull through the truck lane without having to go inside. So you can save time and money!
Are Raceway Gas Stations Worth It While RVing?
Raceway gas stations are great places to stop on a road trip or other adventure. You can find plenty of snacks while you fill-up the tank. However, they’re not great while RVing. Many of these locations are in heavily-populated areas, making it hard to maneuver turns and access the pumps.
If you’re on the road, plan fuel stops to avoid getting stuck without good options for filling up. It might mean you have to pay a little more per gallon to find a place to fit your rig, but it can prevent a costly and stressful incident.
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