In the last week, Pilot has completed a merger with Flying J, to form Pilot Flying J, with some 550 travel centers across the United States. Pilot previously operated some 275 locations and picked up nearly the same amount of outlets from Flying J.

As part of the merger, Flying J agreed to sell over 25 locations to retail chain Love's Travel Stops. The move ultimately resulted in the Federal Trade Commission approving the larger merger.

Flying J also sold other assets, including its Texas pipeline to Magellan, who already operates hundreds of miles of petroleum pipelines. It will, however, retain control of its North Salt Lake refinery, with capacity of 35,000 barrels per day.

A court recently approved Flying J's bankruptcy exit plan, a plan that results in ownership of zero gasoline locations, an amazing fall for a company highlighted by the collapse in oil and gasoline prices in 2008 and the retail situation in 2009. Diesel demand and sales were awful as the recession hit full force, resulting in lower sales, less traffic, and ultimately the filing for bankruptcy protection a year ago. Just two years ago, Flying J was among the top 20 biggest privately held companies.

According to Pilot, many of the old Flying J locations will see improvements, including new pumps, renovated lounges, remodeled restrooms, and the addition of national brand restaurants.

According to Flying J, before the company filed for bankruptcy protection, the company employed 11,500 people, with sales of $8.4 billion. Pilot Flying J expects to employ 20,000 people in 43 states. Sales projections were unavailable.

So what's your favorite brand of travel centers? Will you keep going to Flying J branded stores even after Pilot bought them out?