Lawton, Oklahoma is Not Happy with Love’s Right Now
It has been a few weeks since Love's completed their buyout acquisition of Lawton-based EZGO Foods and people are still quite upset about it.
People being people, the instant the news broke back in February that EZGO was selling to Love's, the negative hyperbole started flying into posts on Lawton's social media pages.
"Can't wait to pay way too much for gas now!"
"Noooooo! Love's is always the highest price!"
"If all the negatives are true we can just go to Walmart, Murphys, and of course local gas stations..."
The animosity toward Love's is confusing, so let's break it down.
Is Love's really the most expensive option for gas?
Sort of... Most Love's locations are isolated islands in the middle of nowhere. With little competition and often farther to haul products, prices are naturally a little higher. As they expand into Lawton with plenty of competition for fuel dollars, they'll have no choice but to price comparatively.
All the same, Love's sells 100% gasoline which is naturally about 10% higher than E-10 ethanol... since it contains about 10% more gasoline in it. Ounce for ounce, it's normally close to the same price.
Example: If E-10 is $3 per gallon and 100% gas is $3.30 per gallon, you're paying the same exact same price for both but getting a full gallon of gasoline per gallon with 100% vs only getting 90% gasoline with every gallon of E-10.
People are upset that the local company (EZGO) sold out, but Love's is local too.
Here's the thing, while I also appreciate going out of my way to buy as local as possible, Love's is an Oklahoma company too. The Love family literally started with one gas station in Watonga, Oklahoma. They're still headquartered in OKC. It's still a local company.
I'm sort of surprised because I remember when Stripes bought out Circle-K (O&K Shop & Rob)... Then 7-11 later bought out Stripes... There was no public outcry then, why now? Nobody even batted an eyelash when 7-11 acquired the SWOK Chisholm Corner chain only a few months ago. All was quiet on the Southwestern Front. Why all the hubbub about EZGO and Love's?
People narcissistically crave the attention of total strangers and the easiest way to get attention is to feign being offended by dumb stuff.We may never know.
I admit, I'm sort of fond of Love's gas stations. Growing up, our christmas presents often came from there. Packs of Lifesavers, keychains, the occasional saddle blanket, life was good on christmas morning after Dad's late-night trip to Love's... but even so, I had some questions about the EZGO/Love's deal too.
My biggest question was about the fuel. Phillips 66 is a Top-Tier fuel whereas Love's blend is not, so I emailed the OKC-based conglomerate and asked them if they planned on keeping the EZGO's under the Phillips 66 brand of fuel or not.
No shocker, the answer I got back was "We don't know, yet." It's not a great answer, but it's not a bad answer either. While there's nothing wrong with Love's fuel blend, there's nothing special about it either.
On the plus side, Love's normally sells 100% gas, no terrible ethanol mixes which explains why people think Love's is so expensive. You're paying for 100% fuel, not letting the government subsidize a garbage additive.
Out of curiosity, I asked if EZGO would be rebranded to fall under Love's familiar red and yellow banner. The answer also happened to be "We don't know, yet."
Here's the thing... EZGO recently completed three major new gas station projects and the stores look great. There's really no legitimate reason why Love's would come in with a hammer and paint to redo what is already a pretty gleaming example of modern convenience... but it wouldn't be unheard of either. Like most businesses, Love's is probably all about branding and brand-awareness. A fresh coat of paint wouldn't surprise me at all.