Carlton Hills Arco Shutters Its Pumps, Santee Loses a Cheaper Option

Santee has one less gas station to choose from, and Arco may not be around southern California much longer.

See more articles about local business openings and closings

Earlier this month the on Carlton Hills Boulevard closed for business. The gas pumps were laced with caution tape and the Sunshine convenience store was shuttered.

It is unclear why the station shut down, no notices were on the front door and the owners offer no clue. But, an answer might lay in the fact that BP, the corporate owner of the Arco franchise and stations, is selling many of its operations in California to pay for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Arco is known to have some of the lowest gas prices on the market, and the loss of many Arco stations has some gas price analysts considering the affect on cheaper gas options.

A CBS station in Los Angeles quoted an Arco owner: "They [Arco] control the market because they’re low gas. So if there’s a Chevron across the street from you, they have to be close to you. Now there’s no Arco anymore, they don’t really care. They are going to work on any margin they want.”

The Carlton Hills Arco was in direct competition with the recently renamed on the corner of Mission Gorge Road and Carlton Hills Boulevard. Go Gasoline regularly featured gas prices slightly above Arco, but was in a more high traffic area.

It was one of two Arco stations in Santee, which regularly offer the cheapest gas in town, second to .

If you know why the Arco was shuttered, please share in the comments.

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Larry May 30, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I don't think competition had anything to do with this arco shutting down. It beat out Go Gas and the 7-11 on the corner of Carlton Hills and Carlton Oaks on a daily basis. Now those two locations are extremely busy. If I recall correctly, this Arco didn't sell alcohol for years because of some violation. I wonder if there was another alcohol related violation and they were forced to shut down.
Doug Curlee May 30, 2012 at 05:50 PM
larry.. i doubt that.. if that had been the case, there would have been closure orders from the ABC hanging in every window and on every door.. ABC is good at that.. mist be something else at play here.. doug
Laura Garcia May 30, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I stoped going there years ago!.. Rude people, the debit machines never worked. I'm not going to pay 45cent sur charge!!
EllyInSoCal May 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Very sorry to see that one go. I used it frequently. In the past 2-3 months I've noticed that both that and the other Arco station in Santee have regularly been at least $0.10 or so above the Arco at Bradley and Magnolia, disappointing since Santee's prices had always been lower.
Jennefer L. May 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM
This might have something to do with the closing... http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/03/17/hundreds-of-arco-stations-becoming-gasoline-usa/
Chris McRae May 30, 2012 at 06:22 PM
The Arco on la mesa Blvd and university also closed without notice so I think it's a corporate thing.
Larry May 30, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Good point Doug, it's just so all of a sudden. I filled my tank there about a week or so ago. Sad, now there will be lines at the other two gas stations on Carlton Hills Blvd.
Larry May 30, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Thanks Jennefer. Wow.
Larry May 30, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I just went there for gas. The few times that I did go inside, the people were nice enough to me. Too bad, I think most of the employees lived here in Santee. More people out of work...
Steven Bartholow (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Nice find Jeffefer! I'll be checking with the other Arco in town to see what their plans are and following this lead to see what's coming at the old Arco site.
Doug Curlee May 30, 2012 at 06:50 PM
wonder how many of those arco stations are also am/pm's?... doug
Jennefer L. May 30, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Here is some more info. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/arco-344987-thrifty-stations.html
Brian Hanifin May 30, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I stopped going to Arco about 10 years ago, once I realized how unsafe it was to pay for gas anything with an ATM card. I would rather pay a few cents more per gallon at a station that accepts credit cards, so when fraudulent charges occur I am not out any money.
Motivated Santee Citizen May 30, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I have never even been in the parking lot of that Arco.
Larry May 30, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Your loss. They had air, and water, and clean trash cans, and dirty water for your windshield and cameras pointing every which a way. It was awesome!
santee citizen May 31, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Arco gas is cheep because they use 10 percent alcohol. if your car pings try a different brand of gas.
Joe Spencer May 31, 2012 at 05:49 AM
It seems that this is more about the 240 stations that Arco leased from Thrifty Gas...more than half of which operated under the Thrifty Gas name. According to this report...published by KTLA after the other articles listed on this thread....the other 700 or so locations in Southern California are not affected by this....at least not yet. http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-arco-stations-closing,0,4899528.story
J.B. May 31, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I'm not surprised. I lived in Santee for 18 years until I moved to Lakeside 4 months ago. The Arco near me is 28 cents less a gallon than the Santee Arco stations. I work in Santee and when I need gas I will wait until I get home to get it. I won't buy gas at the Arco stations here because of that.
Cecile Walters May 31, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I have seen an ARCO station closed @ Jamacha Blvd. & Washington, El Cajon and also an ARCO in La Mesa @ University and La Mesa Blvd. What is going on? These stations weren't the lowest in these areas but not as high as Chervon & Texaco.
Joe Spencer May 31, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Direct response emailed to me this morning from BP USA DIVISION: The following inquiry was submitted to US - BP America Press Relations on 05/31/12 14:49 (931059): From : Scott Dean (deans) Date : 05/31/12 12:50 Here’s the story. BP announced plans to divest its Carson, California refinery and Southern California retail network in February 2011. The company intends to sell the refinery, associated businesses and the ARCO-branded retail network in 2012 as an on-going business. A number of prospective buyers have already expressed interest in the refinery and ARCO brand. There are about 920 ARCO-branded stations in Southern California operated by independent dealers and franchisees. Approximately 130 of these ARCO-branded retail sites were leased from Thrifty Oil Company. The leases of these 130 sites will expire over the next two years and will revert back to Thrifty. These are the sites you are starting to see convert to other brands. The other 790 ARCO-branded sites are unaffected. The link to the original divestment announcement can be found here: http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=706707 3 While the final decision will be up to the buyer, we would fully expect them to want to retain and market fuel under ARCO brand in Southern California. It is a very popular brand with consumers and there is value associated with the ARCO name.
Nfldude June 02, 2012 at 05:06 AM
In El Cajon, today (June 1) Arco at Washington and 1st Street closed, along with Thrifty at Washington & Avocado and on May 23 an Arco at Main & Douglas closed. The ocregister article linked previosuly says many stations will rebrand to USA Gasoline, a Tesoro brand. Will Tesoro ship product here from their Texas refineries? Doubtful...
Mark June 03, 2012 at 08:16 AM
I just noticed today (Sat June 2) at this Arco station in Santee is being rebranded to USA gasoline. New pumps were being installed and new signage was being put up. Also looked like the inside of the store was being retrofitted. A temporary sign was hung over the main sign that said "USA Gasoline". I hope USA is as cheap as Arco used to be. I have noticed that the 2 Arco stations in Santee have not been cheap lately (last few weeks), being as much as 20-25 cents higher that other stations in the area.


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