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As they multiple, Manteca general fund swells to help cover increased costs of police, fire, other city services
gas stations
Mayor Gary Singh, left, and Councilman Dave Breitenbucher outside the Crestwood Avenue/Lathrop Road Avenue ARCO AM/PM gas station and mini-mart where the city’s fifth free-standing Starbucks opened this week.

The surge in gas stations, fast food places, and convenience stores in Manteca triggers a predictable collective groaning on social media.

It typically runs from “just what we don’t need” to “can’t the city get anything else besides gas stations, convenience stores, and fast food?”

Mayor Gary Singh — who returned from The International Council of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas last month reporting strong interest from a  wide variety of concerns interested in capitalizing on Manteca’s strong growth rate for a potential location — said fast food places and gas stations are still going to be coming to Manteca.

It has everything to do with decisions out of Manteca’s control.

*The regional market created by the city’s location along Highway 99 as well as Highway 120 that serves as the main route to the Sierra from the Bay Area.

*Consumer spending habits of city residents, those in nearby cities, and travelers.

*State laws that do not allow the city to cherry pick who can open a business that is allowed under assigned land zoning.

Singh — who met with retailers, restaurant chains and others with Councilman Mike Morowit and City of Manteca Economic Development Director Barbara Harb at the Las Vegas gathering — indicated there will be good news coming for those wanting more than car washes, gas stations, fast food places, and gas stations.

But in the meantime despite nonstop criticism, he has no problem owning the fact Manteca has become a magnet for such businesses.

That’s because per square-foot they are the among the titans of Manteca commerce when it comes to helping fuel the city’s general fund to counter inflation and to pay for  increased demand for municipal services.

The gas station-convenience store combo has emerged as one of the biggest sources of sales tax in the city.

At least one such combination station ranks right upon there in the top five sales tax generators in Manteca with the likes of Walmart.

A number are higher sales tax generators than Living Spaces furniture that has helped bump taxable sales considerably after it opened last year.

The reason has to do with what Manteca residents — and those passing through, or visiting Manteca  —arguably spend the most on in any given week when it comes to taxable sales.

And that is gasoline.

Although it isn’t broken out, every gallon of gasoline includes an 8.25 cent sales tax collapsed within the price.

That includes 5.25 cents that goes to the state, one cent that goes to the city’s general fund, a half cent that goes to Measure M police and fire positions, and a half cent for the countywide road and transportation improvement tax known also known as Measure M.

That is on top of the state’s 54 cent gas excise tax and the 18.4 cents federal excise gas tax.

Given a tax isn’t collected on a tax, a dollar spent at the gas pump doesn’t translate into  $1 spent at Walmart on a taxable item in terms of sale tax paid. It’s roughly 15 to 20 percent less per dollar spent when buying gasoline priced at $4 a gallon. That’s because at $4 a gallon, 72.4 cents presents gas taxes per se.

The city’s largest volume gas station pumps 300,000 gallons a month.

At $4 a gallon, in a year’s time the city is collecting $130,00 in general fund sales tax and $65,000 in public safety sales tax.

Singh, as an example, spends roughly  $100 every month in gasoline

That means over a seven-month period, Singh is paying sales tax at the pump that ends up in the city’s general fund and public safety fund that is the rough equivalent of him purchasing a $600 chair at either Living Spaces, Hafer’s Furniture, or Century Furniture.

 That same gas station does $250,000 in taxable sales inside its store during an average month.

That translates into $30,000 in general fund sales tax and $15,000 in public safety taxes within a year’s time.

“Don’t you want people coming off the freeway spending money at Starbucks or ARCO paying sales taxes to pay (for local services services?”), Councilman Dave Breitenbucher asked Wednesday morning as he stood outside the new Starbucks at Crestwood Avenue and Lathrop Road.

The complex behind him represented an $8 million investment by the owner.

Singh noted owners of the gas stations and convenience stores research the market and trends before they make such commitments that are at their risk.

Manteca’s heavy gas use — given it is at the epicenter of the fastest growing super commuter region in the country of people driving at least 90 minutes one way wither to or from work — is a big lure.

“Why do you think 7-Eleven after taking gas pumps out like they did at the Powers’ Avenue location are now building stores with gas pumps?” Singh asked.

One such 7-Eleven will open within the coming weeks at Louise Avenue and Main Street.

It is about half mile away from an existing 7-Eleven with gas pumps on Main at Northgate Drive that will remain open.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email