Mobile gas stations at Seattle-area Safeway stores aim to save emissions, time

Aug 27, 2021, 5:48 PM | Updated: Aug 28, 2021, 8:11 am
mobile gas...
Look for the big purple truck at three Seattle-area Safeway stores. (Photo courtesy of Booster)
(Photo courtesy of Booster)

If you’ve ever driven around downtown Seattle or downtown Bellevue looking for a gas station, you know how much time and gas can be spent going around in circles for half an hour. But one company aims to revolutionize the refueling experience by bringing mobile gas stations to where people already are.

Three local Safeway stores — in Kent, Sea-Tac, and in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood — have partnered with Booster Fuels to let people fuel up at the same time that they get groceries. Booster, which was founded in Seattle but is now based in California, brings gas to the parking lots in its bright purple trucks. These Safeway stores don’t already have gas stations attached, so the idea is that by giving people a “one-stop shop,” it will eliminate the need for them to spend the extra money and emissions driving to find a gas station on the way home.

“These are the first three grocery partnerships that Booster has done in the country. … Seattle is cutting-edge,” said Jordan Valdés, vice president of communications and public affairs at Booster.

Washington State Senate passes landmark pair of climate change bills

And, as usual, that cutting-edge spirit has to do with environmental action.

It turns out, those extra trips to the gas station can be costly. A study from vehicle analysis company Geotab found that people emit an extra 3 pounds of fossil fuels per month and use an extra 2.2 miles per trip going out of their way to find a gas station.

“We also know that it adds 20 minutes per car, per trip,” Valdés said.

But combining that with a grocery store trip — at stores that don’t already have Safeway gas stations — gets rid of the extra expenditure of time, money, and CO2.

“If you’re already going to the grocery store, you don’t then have to stop at the gas station on the way home,” Valdés said.

And there is a pandemic upside to it as well: Because the mobile gas station is entirely contactless, allowing another person to pump the gas for you, it eliminates the need for you to touch a germ-filled gas pump.

And in this case, convenience doesn’t come at a higher cost — Booster forms its price based on the average price of the three closest gas stations to where the purple truck is parked.

You can find Booster 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays at the Safeway located at 20830 108th Avenue SE in Kent, at 4011 S. 164th Street in Sea-Tac, and at 7300 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle.

Valdés said the initial response to Booster has been great since it started in July, and she hopes Booster will expand to provide mobile gas at more Safeway stores throughout Washington.

“We’re committed to doing it as long as folks want to do it. … Right now, Seattle, Kent, and Sea-Tac, but stay tuned for the future for more,” Valdés said.

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Mobile gas stations at Seattle-area Safeway stores aim to save emissions, time