Portable gas station gives county consumers a new choice

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Motorists in Mineral County and the surrounding areas who need to fuel their vehicles but don’t need a cup of coffee, soda or snack now have an innovative new option.

City Service Valcon, a growing Kalispell fuel supply company, recently opened a no-frills way to fill up and go via a 25,000-gallon “portable” gas station in the parking lot of the OK Café in St Regis.

The above ground tank, which is mounted on skids and surrounded by sturdy barriers to prevent accidental damage, offers the three main fuels used by diesel trucks and gas-powered vehicles alike: regular unleaded, diesel and “off-road” diesel.

Two pumps on each end of the tank dispense the products, which can be paid for by credit card readers that accept all major cards. And the prices are at or lower than existing stations charge.

“The credit cards offer a versatile way for customers to gas up,” said company spokesperson Bethany Robinson. “Our prices are very competitive,” she added.

The low prices and ease of access is made possible by very low overhead (the tank is checked and inspected twice weekly by company employees).

With no costs related to operating a service station and convenience store, CSV can pass those savings on to customers.

As is the case with the OK Café, the company leases property from the land owner, further reducing costs of acquiring and maintaining land.

The 25,000-gallon tank is double-walled as a further way to prevent any potential leaks from reaching nearby ground-water sources. The skids allow the tank to be moved relatively easily if needed. Inside the massive steel tank are three sealed tanks or compartments, each holding one of the three types of fuel.

CVS has been operating in the Kalispell area for 85 years, Robinson said, with steady growth spreading throughout the Northwest. “We currently have nine operations in Montana, Idaho and Washington including Spokane, Lewiston, Idaho and Billings.” Stations are also located in the Libby and Kalispell area.

“We’ve had really good results so far,” she said of the St. Regis site. “We saw a need for a place that has easy access, particularly for truckers. The OK Café, with its spacious parking areas was ideal.”

Initially off to a slow start, Robinson said sales at the tank station have been growing.

“We’re starting to gain momentum,” she said. “Not a lot of people realized at first that we offer unleaded as well as diesel fuel, but word is getting around.”

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