Second Refuel gas station planned

$1.16 million project touted for West Bay Road

Dow Travers stands beside fuel pumps at his Industrial Park Refuel station shortly after it opened in 2017. He now plans to open a second operation on West Bay Road. - Photo: James Whittaker

After building a new gas station near the airport post office in 2017, Refuel founder Dow Travers is planning to build another, this one just south of The Ritz-Carlton hotel on West Bay Road.

The $1.16 million project will include five petrol pumps, one diesel pump, and a convenience store on a 5,400 square-foot site, Mr. Travers said.

Government has plans to build a connecting road from around the area where the gas station will be on West Bay Road to the Island Heritage roundabout on Esterley Tibbetts Highway – though there is no timeline for this project.

Mr. Travers said he is moving forward with plans for the new gas station because the Refuel location near the airport post office has experienced consistent quarter-on-quarter growth since it was built in 2017. He said Refuel is unlike other competitors in Cayman because it offers E10 gasoline, which is 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline.

“On top of that, there is substantial pressure in the public to lower costs on the island,” Mr. Travers said. “The way to do that is to increase our volume.”

As far as costs go, Duke Munroe, the chief fuels inspector for the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg), said in a November Public Accounts Committee hearing that the Refuel gas station has consistently had 20 to 30 cent lower average prices than its competitors. Mr. Munroe said at the time that Refuel’s lower prices are causing “unease” among its competitors.

He added that he expects the competition to cause further price decreases in the future, and that a “breaking point” could be when other entrants capture more market share.

Mr. Munroe told the Compass on Tuesday that his office has the mandate to promote competition on the island, and that OfReg is making sure the new Refuel meets all the regulatory requirements as it enters the planning phase.

He added, “We expect new equilibrium in terms of price and service will be established as new players enter the market, for the benefit of consumers.”

The planned gas station is part of Mr. Travers’s larger aspirations to spread the Refuel brand throughout the territory.

He said he hopes to break ground on the West Bay Road station this summer, and that plans are in the works for a third Refuel in the eastern area of the island.

“Expansion will also provide us with another location for our in-demand Corporate Fleet Management program, and allow us to pass on further savings to the consumer through the increased efficiencies that we will gain with scale,” he said. “Currently, fleet vehicles are restricted to fueling only at our Industrial Park location, but our West Bay Road facility will be the first step in expanding the service islandwide.”

Mr. Travers also said a mobile fueling service is under construction, and should be ready this summer.

A Central Planning Authority hearing date has not been announced for the proposed West Bay Road gas station.

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