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New Chevron station opening in Kailua-Kona

By Chelsea Jensen

Stephens Media Hawaii

Drivers will soon have another choice when it comes to fueling up in the Kailua-Kona area.

Mid Pac Petroleum is constructing a new Chevron gas station on Luhia Street that will not only offer the typical three grades of gasoline but also diesel fuel and ethanol-free gasoline, said Keith Yoshida, vice president of business development at Mid Pac Petroleum. The station will also feature a Wikiwiki Mart convenience store.

It will be the lone nonmembership gas station situated between Palani Road and Kealakehe Parkway when complete. The currently under construction station is located across Luhia Street from Target, on a portion of the Kona International Market’s parking lot, abutting HPM Building Supply.

“It is a growing area, looking at what has come up there, and there is a lot of traffic there,” Yoshida said about development around Luhia Street, which includes the Kailua-Kona Target, Kona Commons shopping area, and the Old Kona Industrial Area, among others.

“We felt there was a need to provide the community with regular gas and diesel as well as nonethanol fuel.”

Mid Pac Petroleum expects the station to be open Dec. 1, Yoshida said. Construction began Sept. 22 and the company has already installed underground tanks, fueling canopy and dispensers. Four vehicles will be able to fuel at one time at the station’s two fuel pumps.

Mid Pac Petroleum will own the facility being built on land leased from Tom Stevenson, owner of Kona International Market, Yoshida said. The company partnered with Chevron to provide fuel to the station. Dave Buehler, who has two unnamed partners in the venture, will handle retail operations, which include the convenience store and gas station cashiers.

Wikiwiki Mart will offer the typical items, such as ketchup and milk, as well as snorkeling gear and sunscreen, said Buehler, who will serve as the convenience store’s chief executive officer.

It will also feature a self-service beverage station as well as a grab-and-go area offering fresh sandwiches and pastries by Buns in the Sun, Buehler said.

The convenience store will likely employ 10 people, Buehler said. It will initially be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week with the possibility of opening the store 24 hours a day.

A Chevron station located at the intersection of Kuakini Highway and Palani Road closed its doors in August 2003.

“We were there in the past, but we still have the feeling that there’s a loyal following for the brand there,” Chevron Hawaii spokesman Al Chee said.

Both Chevron and Mid Pac Petroleum are continuing to expand their market reach statewide.

“We are trying to continue to grow our business here and the way that we grow our business is to build more stations to have more locations available to customers,” Chee said. “It fills a need within our entire network, statewide.”

Chevron has in Hawaii 60 — soon to be 61 with the opening of the Kailua-Kona facility — retail stations in operation bearing its name. With the Kailua-Kona facility, Chevron will have eight stations on Hawaii Island with its moniker.

The company owns and operates just six of those stations across the state, including one on Hawaii Island, in Waiakea. Workers at such facilities are employed by Chevron.

Approximately 60 percent of the remaining stations are owned and operated by a retailer with a supply agreement with Chevron, he said. The other 40 percent are owned by Chevron with retail operations leased to a retailer. In these cases, the retailer, not Chevron, employs the workers.

Yoshida said Mid Pac Petroleum has been expanding for a number of years, but this will be its first new venture with Chevron in the state. Mid Pac Petroleum since acquiring the exclusive license to distribute 76 brand gasoline in the state in 2007 has increased its number of stations from 50 to currently 73. It has converted some of its 76 stations to Chevron, including one on Kilauea Avenue in Hilo.

“We’ve grown exponentially statewide under the 76 flag,” he said. “With Chevron, we are providing different options in the community.”

Mid Pac Petroleum formed in 2004 when it acquired the assets from Conoco-Philips Hawaii, which included the exclusive license to sell 76 brand gasoline in the state. An ownership change took place in September 2007 when Kokooha Investments purchased Mid Pac Petroleum. Kokooha then merged with Grace Pacific Corp in 2011. When Alec and Baldwin acquired Grace Pacific earlier this year, Mid Pac Petroleum’s ownership was spun off to Grace’s shareholders.

Yoshida said the company is currently “privately held and locally owned.”

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., Chevron Corp. is the second-largest integrated energy company in the United States. It produces crude oil, natural gas, and other products. The company’s products are sold in more than 8,900 retail stations in the United States.

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