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Oh, for heaven’s sake, why is there yet another 7-Eleven/gas station combo coming to Manteca?
arco gary
Mayor Gary Singh, left, and Councilman Dave Breitenbucher in front of ARCO AM/PM, gas station and car wash that opened in 2023 on Crestwood Avenue at Lathrop Road.

Mayor Gary Singh knows what to expect when there’s a story printed about another gas station, convenience store, or car wash — or a combination thereof — coming to Manteca.

The emails are going to be coming fast and furious, with an emphasis on furious.

They demand that he stop anymore from coming.

Some accuse him of paving the way for “friends” to open them.

Others tell him there are 1,001 other things Manteca needs.

And almost all flat out state that Manteca doesn’t need anymore.

Decisions on whether Manteca is getting another service station, car wash, convenience store or another venture that people love to hate hear is coming — a fast food restaurant — aren’t really in his control.

Or the City Council’s control, for that matter.

There are some jurisdictions just saying no to more gas stations and not being legally challenged for doing so. They are driven by concerns about greenhouse gas reductions.

But they are, for the most part, in cities where growth is stagnant.

The greenhouse gas issue and the widely anticipated death of the sale of new vehicles powered by fossil fuels in California starting in 2035 aside, the decisions by the private sector makes economic sense.

It has to considering a gas station/convenience store — with land included — can cost a minimum $6 million to build in California.

Toss in a car wash and you’re talking a maximum approaching $10 million.

Banks, which are well aware of California’s 2035 death knell mandate for new vehicles with gas-powered engines, clearly believe there isn’t a risk of them not being profitable.

And to give you an idea of the economic juggernaut that a gas station/convenience store can be, the gas station-convenience store combo has emerged as one of the biggest sources of sales tax in the city.

That’s because per square-foot they are 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.

At least one such combination station ranks right up 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 in 2022.

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 sales tax collapsed within the price.

It isn’t a straight-forward 8.25 cents per dollar.

That’s because of a tax swap the California Legislature adopted in  2010 during a budget crisis.

It shifted a chunk of the sales tax to fuel excise tax. It’s revenue neutral in terms of what is collected. The bottom line was the restricting of the tax that was shifted for other purposes.

The end result is gas sales tax is based on a per gallon basis and not per dollar spent.

And instead of being 8.25 percent, it is 2.25 percent plus any “district taxes.”

In Manteca’s case, that is 0.5 percent for the Measure M public safety tax and 0.5 percent for the countywide Measure K tax.

So on a gallon of gasoline bought in Manteca, a 3.25 percent tax is collapsed into the gallon price.

That means a $5 gallon price includes 16.25 cents in sales tax.

Fill up your vehicle with 15 gallons and that’s 24.375 cents in sales tax.

So for every $5 you pay for a gallon of gas, you are paying the 54 cents state gas tax, the 18.4 cent federal gas tax, 23 cents for cap and trade greenhouse gas emission credits, 18 cents for low-carbon fuel production, 2 cents for underground storage cleanup and 3.5 cents in sales tax.

That’s a lot of money.

The gas tax portion is 72.4 cents to pay for roads.

Then there is 53 cents tied into environmental expenditures.

And that’s capped off with 16.25 cents in sales tax based on $5 a gallon. The exact amount rises, or falls, along with the price per gallon as it changes.

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

At $5 a gallon, in a year’s time the city is collecting $90,000 in general fund sales tax and $18,000 in public safety sales tax.

But that is only a small part of the equation.

A high percentage of those who get gas, end up buying something in the store. And that doesn’t count those stopping just to access the convenience store that has a lot of taxable items inside.

It is also the convenience store sales that offers biggest margin. The gas sales basically get people in the door.

Typically convenience stores attached to gas stations do $250,000 a month in taxable sales.

The overall sales tax is 8.25 cents.

That includes the basic sales tax of 7.25 cents of which 1 cent goes to the local jurisdiction, which is the City of Manteca. Another half cent is collected for public safety and another half cent for Measure K.

That means in a given year based on $250,000 a month in taxable sales, Manteca’s general fund will receive $30,000 plus $15,000 in public safety taxes.

Multiply that by 40 — the number of gas stations Manteca will have if all approved or proposed are built and assuming they have $250,000 a month of in-store taxable sales — you are talking $1.2 million in general fund sales tax and $600,000 in public safety tax on an annual basis.

And that is all money that pays for day-to-day services such as police and fire protection, street maintenance, and park upkeep among other things.

It is also clear 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 has met with those wanting to do business in Manteca including supermarket representatives — 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.

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 either to or from work — is a big lure for the gas station business.

It is why 7-Eleven, after taking gas pumps out like they did at the Powers’ Avenue location years ago, are now building stores with gas pumps.

One such 7-Eleven opened recently 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 is still open.

And another 7-Eleven/gas station combo is coming to the northwest corner of Lathrop Road and Union Road.

The bottom line is gas stations, convenience stores, and car washes pencil out financially for both the owners, the city, and ultimately the community that relies on municipal services.


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at