High Gas Prices Force Retailers to Offer Gas Deals

With gas pricessitting well above $3 a gallon, some retailers and manufacturers are trying to get more shoppers back on the road and into their stores by offering incentives that promise fuel at a discounted rate.

One example of this is Publix, a grocery chain that has stores scattered through the south-east United States and is currently offering $50 gas cards for $40 when you buy at least $25 in food or other products.

In Florida, where averages prices at the pump are in the $3.30 to $3.40 range, that translates to 3 free gallons of gas, and a little extra weight in your wallet.

Needless to say, other stores are jumping on board and offering similar deals.

CVS customers can receive a $10 gas card when they spend $30 on particular items and Wal-Mart, the country’s largest discount retailer, is giving its shoppers a 10 cents per gallon discount at their pumps, provided they pay with a Wal-Mart branded credit, gift, or prepaid card.

This isn’t the first time, however, that we’ve seen gas deals pop up in directly correlation with rising fuel costs.

In the summer of 2008, when gas prices were over $4 a gallon, gas dependent industries like car manufacturing and tourism began offering gas-price deals.

Chrysler offered guaranteed $2.99-a-gallon gas for three years to get people to buy cars, and Suzuki gave three months’ free gas, while hotel companies like Marriott also offered gas cards upon booking with them.

According to Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at Mastercard Advisors Spending Pulse, the discounts work well because of the fact that gasoline is not an optional purchase for the majority of people.

“They view it as having an immediate positive effect on their wallet,” explained McNamara. “That’s why so many retailers are turning to it.”

What are your thoughts on gas incentives and are you taking advantage of them?

via Times