Chukchansi joins trend of tribal gas stations

Chukchansi Crossing Fuel Station & Travel Center, an 18-pump gas station and convenience store, held its grand opening March 21 in Coarsegold. (Photo courtesy of Sierra News Online)

Travelers who drive through Coarsegold now have the option to fuel up at Chukchansi Crossing Fuel Station & Travel Center.

Located west of the casino at Highway 41 and Lucky Lane, the new 24-hour 18-pump gas station and convenience store offers four grades of fuel, two charging outlets for electric vehicles and a touchless car wash. To best accommodate motorhomes, big rigs and trailers, the station has two diesel pumps on the north side of the building.

“It’s something that has been in the tribe’s plans for a very long time so we’re very excited that it was finally built and opened,” said Jennifer Ruiz, Chairwoman of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. “The tribe felt it would be a good service to provide for the local community and all the travelers going to Bass Lake and Yosemite [National Park]. It provides a service to our casino patrons as well because it’s right there so it’s very convenient for them to fill up.”

Ruiz said the gas station is able to offer less expensive fuel because it works with First American Petroleum, a Native American fuel company from Yakama Nation.

“One of the things is tribes have an advantage as far as working with other native fuel companies to keep competitive rates,” she said. “At the very least, it’ll be competitive with all of the other local gas stations but quite often I think it’ll be lower.”

Inside the store, customers can find fresh fruit, hot foods, snacks, alcohol and other typical convenience store items. To expand its food and beverage options, Ruiz said the store is in the works of adding a food venue and full coffee shop to serve specialty drinks. The facility also houses Willow Glen Smoke Shop.

In terms of impact on the local economy, Chukchansi Crossing opens up approximately 20 new jobs.

“We did have some of the casino employees apply for the positions over there but it still creates the new positions,” Ruiz said. “If they did move over, then it opens up the positions at the casino. Once we open up the food venue and coffee shop, it’ll add more jobs.”

Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino becomes the second Valley casino to offer fuel, joining Tachi Palace in Lemoore.