New truck stops, fuel prices boost Petro profits

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Strong truck traffic, four new locations and increased fuel-profit margins helped Petro Stopping Centers post a 146 percent increase in profit in the third quarter, the company reported this week.

The El Paso, Texas-based chain of 63 truck stops, including 22 franchised locations, had a profit of $8.6 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That’s a gain of $5.1 million over its $3.5 million profit for the same period in 2004.

Price volatility of fuel in the third quarter helped increase fuel-profit margins, and Petro sold 14.2 percent more fuel in the third quarter than a year ago, says Edward Escudero, Petro chief financial officer. Some of the increased sales are due to four corporate-owned truck stops Petro added last year in New Jersey, Ohio, Nebraska and Georgia, he said.

“The trucking market stayed strong despite increases in fuel prices,” Escudero says.