I remember having to stop at a gas station on the freeway when I saw my side mirror was loose (long story). I bought some tape, strapped the mirror back on, and continued on my way. But it was electrical tape because they didn’t have any duct tape, which would have been a little more helpful.
However, I was interested to see if any stations did carry duct tape, so I went for a drive around my local area to see what I could find out for you.
Some gas stations, such as Kwik Trip and BP, sell duct tape as it can be used for quick auto repairs. Others do not sell it due to limited space and relatively low demand for the product. Gas stations typically only carry one duct tape option.
Do Gas Stations Sell Duct Tape?
Stocking duct tape does not seem to be a standard practice among gas stations. I checked out four stations near me and found that some sell duct tape while others do not.
- Kwik Trip does sell duct tape. This is unsurprising as this gas station chain is known to have large convenience stores with a wide variety of products.
- BP does sell duct tape. Similar to Kwik Trip, the store I visited was larger and had a whole side of an aisle dedicated to automotive supplies.
- Mobil does not sell duct tape. The station I visited was smaller and in a downtown area, so they carried only a limited variety of automotive supplies in addition to their snacks, drinks, and tobacco products.
- Citgo does not sell duct tape. Similar to the Mobil convenience store, their automotive supplies were hidden in a corner of the store. They carried vinyl electrical tape and hose repair tape, but no duct tape.
I could only check gas stations in my region, the Midwest. In other parts of the United States, chains such as Exxon, 7-Eleven, Wawa, etc., are more commonly found, and they may or may not stock duct tape.
That being said, I think a good rule of thumb to go by is to look at the size of the convenience store. Perhaps some Mobil/Citgo gas stations do carry duct tape if they have a larger store attached.
Bigger gas stations almost always carry a supply of duct tape.
Range of Tapes Available
Even at the larger gas stations I visited, the range of duct tape was limited to a single option. The stores carried one generic duct tape in the normal gray color.
The limited range is likely due to space. Gas station stores have limited space to work with and have to choose their stock accordingly.
Most people who come to gas stations for duct tape are looking for a quick fix to their vehicle. There would be very low demand for other duct tape color options as it is being used for function, not style.
The silver option is often the cheapest and it is also the most recognizable, so even if you are in a bit of a flap because something has gone wrong, you can spot the duct tape easily.
It is also not necessary for stores to carry more than one brand. Their generic brand is cheaper to carry, and most people will choose to buy it instead of having to stop at a supermarket or hardware store for name-brand duct tape.
Cost of Duct Tape at Gas Stations
The cost of duct tape was similar—if not the same—at all gas station chains. Kwik Trip and BP both sold duct tape for $3.49 per roll.
However, the roll at Kwik Trip was ever so slightly larger. It measured 1.89″ x 10 yds, as opposed to 1.5″ x 10 yds at BP.
I checked online for any other stores that sold duct tape and 7-eleven had duct tape priced at $2.99.
Compared to buying at a regular store, gas stations do price their duct tape on the higher side. For example, you can buy a 1.88″ x 55 yd roll of name-brand duct tape (Duck Brand) at Walmart for $4.98, which is a way better value.
Personally, I have never tried the duct tape brands carried by gas stations. I cannot say definitively whether or not they perform worse than name brands such as Duck Brand, Gorilla tape, and 3M, but even just from looking at the product it appeared to be less durable than said brands.
At gas stations, you are paying extra for convenience. So, if you can make it to a supermarket or hardware store instead, you may save yourself a few bucks while getting a better product.
Note: all prices listed are as of 2022.
Why Gas Stations Sell Duct Tape
Gas stations sell duct tape in the automotive supply section of their stores because it can be used for quick auto repairs.
Some drivers (those who are really prepared) keep a roll of duct tape in their glove box or vehicle emergency kits for this same reason.
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Last update on 2023-02-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In emergency situations, duct tape can be used on a cracked windshield to prevent further damage. The crack will need to be properly mended soon after, but duct tape can make sure you get to a repair shop safely.
Duct tape can also be used to reattach a rearview mirror or bumper that has been broken off. Once again, this isn’t a permanent solution, but the duct tape is strong enough to hold the pieces of your car together while you make plans for permanent repairs.
That being said, some car repairs cannot be done with duct tape. Do not use duct tape in parts of your car that become extremely hot or cold, as large temperature fluctuations can deteriorate the adhesiveness of duct tape.
Refrain from using duct tape for electrical wiring repairs. It does not insulate wires enough and makes later repairs more difficult as the strongly adhered tape must be removed. Most gas stations that sell duct tape also sell electrical tape.
Despite its limitations, duct tape is a very useful emergency tool in your car. Gas stations with a large enough store are sure to carry it, but since smaller stores may not have room to do so, it is smart to keep a roll on hand before you even need it.