Just Askin' | How clean are state's gas station restrooms?

Just Askin' | How clean are state's gas station restrooms?

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What gas stations have the cleanest bathrooms?

According to the price-tracking app GasBuddy, the top five cleanest bathrooms in Illinois are:

  1. Kelley's Market
  2. Thorntons
  3. Pilot
  4. Casey's
  5. Murphy USA

Kelley's is a convenience store attached to Mobil gas stations near Rockford in Northern Illinois.

"They have really great coffee," said Frank Beard, GasBuddy's analyst of convenience store and retail trends. "The customer service is fantastic, they have great employees, and I really enjoyed the coffee. It's just a good place to visit. ... I could see why they would rate really well."

The others in the top 5 all have locations near Champaign-Urbana.

The top rated gas station bathrooms nationally were Buc-ee's, a Texas-based chain with some gas stations the length of three football fields, Beard said.

"They're incredible," he said. "People miss this because of the big stores and all the food, but they succeed at the basics. Everything is clean. The restrooms are sparkling clean."

After Buc-ee's, Hy-Vee had the second cleanest bathrooms in the nation.

The grocery store and gas station chain is popular throughout the Midwest and has 18 stores in Illinois, with the closest in Bloomington.

While GasBuddy is mostly used to find gas prices, the app also allows its users to rate gas stations on a variety of items, including bathroom cleanliness.

They can rate bathrooms either negatively, neutrally or positively.

"Restroom ratings are trending upward," Beard said. "There's probably a reason why gas stations have a reputation for being dirty, but the days of going to a restroom with a key on a hubcap are mostly done."

When GasBuddy users began rating bathrooms in 2016, 46 percent of ratings were positive.

In the first quarter of 2019, the percent of positive ratings was up to 56 percent.

Beard said bathrooms are important, especially when traveling.

"Nobody wants to use a dirty restroom. We've all done it, and it's a terrible experience," Beard said. "When using a restroom, you're in a vulnerable position and don't have the luxury to shop for another restroom. When nature calls, you got to answer."

A GasBuddy survey found 40 percent of travelers fear needing to use a restroom but not knowing where to find a clean one.

But despite the bad reputation gas station bathrooms have, Beard said some brands stand out and gas station bathrooms are improving overall.

"The industry is going through a transition. Smokes, cokes and gasoline was the old model, and the model for tomorrow is a lot more of a differentiated store experience," Beard said. "We're seeing brands create signature products and carry private-label products."

He said gas stations are trying to improve and expand their food options to more than roller dogs and slushies.

"They're transitioning to being food service providers," Beard said. Rather than being just gas stations that happen to sell some food, some are becoming more like restaurants that happen to sell gas, he said.

Think Casey's and its pizza.

"They were one of the early brands that understood the power of food service," Beard said. "I'm from Des Moines and grew up on Casey's pizza. I like to joke that it's the eighth wonder of the world."

He said some brands are even opening locations without gas, such as a new Wawa in Washington, D.C., a QuikTrip in Atlanta and Sheetz on some college campuses.

With gas station convenience stores focusing more on quality food and experiences, Beard said their bathrooms have to improve as well.

"Restrooms are important because they're the litmus test for the overall quality of any store or restaurant," he said.

Top 15 stores nationwide

Rank Brand Avg. rating
1. Buc-ee's 4.89
2. Hy-Vee 4.64
3. Kwik Trip 4.62
4. Weigel's 4.59
5. Twice Daily 4.59
6. Parker's 4.46
7. QuikTrip 4.45
8. Wawa 4.43
9. Maverik 4.43
10. J&H Family Stores 4.40
11. Sheetz 4.40
12. QuickChek 4.32
13. Love's 4.31
14. Holiday Oil (UT) 4.28
15. Bellstores 4.28


Average restroom ratings in each state

State Avg.
NE 4.08
MT 4.05
SD 4.03
ID 4.02
WI 4.00
WY 3.98
ND 3.96
AK 3.95
ME 3.94
UT 3.93
MN 3.91
OK 3.89
OR 3.88
PA 3.87
SC 3.87
IA 3.86
CT 3.85
RI 3.85
VT 3.85
KS 3.84
TX 3.82
MO 3.81
KY 3.79
MA 3.79
MI 3.79
NH 3.79
AZ 3.78
CO 3.78
NC 3.78
MS 3.77
TN 3.76
OH 3.74
VA 3.74
FL 3.73
NJ 3.73
AL 3.71
GA 3.71
NM 3.71
AR 3.70
IL 3.70
IN 3.69
MD 3.69
DE 3.68
NV 3.68
LA 3.66
WA 3.66
WV 3.65
HI 3.64
NY 3.62
CA 3.57
DC 2.94


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