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How a Woman In Cleveland Paid 89 Cents For a Gallon Of Gas and How You Can Too.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

How a Woman In Cleveland Paid 89 Cents For a Gallon Of Gas and How You Can Too.

Scott Siegel
December 13, 2005

Scott Siegel

In August of 2005 the price listed as the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $2.29. That same day Kellie Courtney of Cleveland paid only 89 cents a gallon. Marion Charvat paid $1.09 a gallon. Marion filled her Volkswagen Jetta for only $12.45. How could they buy gas so cheap? They did it because they are smart consumers. Here's how they did it.

The reason that Kellie and Marion were able to purchase gas at such a low price is that they treated gas like it was any other item that they would go to a store to buy. They shopped around and they found a way to purchase their gas at the store that they found had the absolute lowest cost. They found a frequent shopper program that allowed them to lower their gas cost. They found it at a grocery chain called Giant Eagle.

Giant Eagle does business in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. Recently Giant Eagle added a new component to their frequent shopper program. It is called Fuelperks. It is a program that offers discounts on gas at Giant Eagle's own stations for shopping at Giant Eagle using their frequent shopper card.

For every $50.00 of purchases using the frequent shopper card the consumer will get a 10 cent reduction in the price of gas for one tank fill up. Purchase $100.00 worth; get 20 cents off a gallon. Purchase $500.00 worth and get $1.00 off a gallon. Buy enough groceries and you can get gasoline for free.

A large family that has to buy a lot of groceries every week will very quickly earn large discounts at the gas pump. The prices at Giant Eagle are in line with most of the other groceries in the area and their regular price on gas is in line with other gas stations so you really are getting a legitimate discount on gas.

You have to buy groceries somewhere; you might as well buy it a store that gives you a substantial discount on gas while you are at it. That is one way to beat the gas pump.

Treat gas like anything else that you buy. Look for the best deals. Look for frequent shopper programs in your neighborhood that allow you to build up discounts you can use towards gas. Look for gas discounts and incentives anywhere you see a gas pump. Look for stores that may be branching out into the frequent shopper area or stores that now sell gas that didn't before.

In order to compete with the new grocery gas stations many gas convenience stores are beginning to implement frequent shopper programs that will result in lower gas costs. But more and more traditional stores that never sold gas before are realizing that discount gas is a big incentive to get shoppers. Giant Eagle is one example of a traditional grocery store branching out to sell gas at a discount.

According to the Food Marketing Institute, just 18% of grocery stores built in 2003 had gas pumps; last year, more than 60% of new stores were built with gas stations. They have seen the value of offering gas to their customers as a loss leader. The mega retailers are another place you should look for bargains. As in many areas Wal-Mart / Sam's Club are jumping into the gas business big time. The VP in charge of fuel for Wal-Mart says he is looking to extend Sam Walton's marketing strategy to gasoline by building gas stations at every Sam's Club throughout the country. In his view, putting in pumps should be "standard practice. It just fits our business model: we want to bring everything [to consumers] at the lowest price."

So how can you lower your gas costs? Treat gas like any other item you purchase. Look for deals, discounts and low prices. Comparison shop. Find the retailers that offer the best program for you. Look for gas bargains at some of the non traditional outlets like grocery stores or mega stores. Then maybe you will be able to buy that tank of gas for 89 cents a gallon like Kellie Courtney did.

Scott Siegel is the author of "Beat The Gas Pump!" If you want to take your money out of your gas tank and put it back in your pocket go to: http://www.beatthegaspump.com and get your free reports.

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