Buc-ee’s, a chain of gas stations and convenience stores in the southeast U.S., is planning to build a new addition on I-85 in Mebane. 

Buc-ee’s is a Texas-based gas station and retail location that features a large selection of convenience items and souvenirs and is well known for its large scale design and cartoonish beaver mascot. 

Representatives from Buc-ee’s submitted an initial site plan to Mebane City Council in June to construct a 75,400 square feet store featuring 120 gas stations on 32.49 acres of land on I-85/40. The city of Mebane is reviewing the chain’s application to rezone these properties along I-85. 

A traffic impact review and recommendation by the North Carolina Department of Transportation has to be done before any voting can take place, according to Mebane Development Developer Ashley Owenby.

This is not the first attempt to build a Buc-ee’s in North Carolina. In 2021, Buc-ee’s representatives proposed a station in Orange County but withdrew their plan after receiving community pushback and concerns regarding traffic congestion and the potential effects this development would have on the environment, according to The News of Orange County

Elon University psychology professor Mat Gendle wrote an opinion piece that originally appeared in the Charlotte Observer outlining his concerns about the company’s overconsumption. Gendle said Buc-ee's is not solely responsible for overconsumption but is one of the many contributors.

“If you think about this stuff combined with all the other At Homes and then all the other Targets and all the other Walmarts and all the other Michaels and everything — it's just overwhelming,” Gendle said.  

Gendle said all of the waste from overconsumption also includes a large amount of fuel used to transport these goods to their retail locations. 

“Think about all the bunker oil that was burned to power all the ships that carried all this stuff over in containers from China, and then all the fuel that was used from trucks to carry all that stuff here, and then all the fuel that's gonna be used by the trucks to carry it to the landfill,” Gendle said.

Gendle said he has received criticism for the Buc-ee’s opinion piece.

“One of the criticisms that I’ve gotten from folks is ‘What are we supposed to do? Just not grow the economy?’ And unfortunately we’re in a situation because the US economy is so debt-leveraged, the only way we can make it work is to grow continuously.” Gendle said, “There’s a point at which you have to understand that the way we are doing it is not sustainable.”

According to Friends of the Earth, a grassroots environmental campaigning community, overconsumption creates negative environmental effects such as increased air pollution as well as exhausts plants’ life support systems which leaves the world short of materials critical for high quality of life. 

Junior Carter Craig, a Charlotte native, said he is concerned about the environmental impact a Buc-ee’s in North Carolina could have as it would increase personal fuel usage.

“This is just going to further encourage people to drive instead of taking the train,” Craig said, “Which is going to incentivize more money to go towards highways instead of the perfectly good train system we have that could use some TLC.”