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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Making money getting users to provide best gas prices

I think gas stations are stupid to post their prices on gasoline. Is it a federal requirement to do so? As a consumer I love it, but from a gas station’s perspective, it just doesn’t seem like a good move. When I go to the grocery store, they don’t post the prices for milk or lettuce so you can see from driving by. Likewise, when I go to the doctor I don’t see the price before the service is performed – I’m lucky to know the price after it’s performed! If you think about it, no other business regularly posts the price of their main product from the street. None. By posting the price of gas, everyone is current with the price and can see the price go up, alarming the nation. Yes, gas has gone up, but so has the price of milk, eggs, chairs, shoes, energy, and movie tickets. If gas stations didn’t post the price of their gas from the street, consumers would be required to approach the pump, making it less easy to shop around for gas.

There’s a website http://www.gasbuddy.com/, which posts the prices of gasoline for your specific zip code, and ranks the price for each location. It’s a fantastic website, one that allows users to share the best prices they see. The site was founded in 2000 by Dustin Coupal and Jason Toews. The site is free to users, and they are able to sustain the site via advertisers. These guys are geniuses - the users are basically the ones who do all the work by submitting the gas price information. I see the site has had a huge surge in traffic in the last couple months. Gee, I wonder why?
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t said...

I would have to disagree with you! It helps businesses to post prices, to allow competition. If two stations are next door and one is a penny less, they can advertise that and get more business. Also some offer a 2 cent discount for paying inside, in order to draw people in to make additional sales. Plus, there is the factor of location. If a station is hard to pull into, or get out of, depending upon what street you're turning on then, people are usually willing to pay 2 cents more not to have to take a left hand turn into traffic, etc. So many factors go into it. There are also frequency cards, points, etc being offered, and it's GOOD for businesses to post their gas prices. The ones that don't, regardless of price, don't get much business at all. The one in Lincoln near the interstate gets very little traffic b/c they don't post on a sign.

Mommy Meryl said...

I have heard about that site and thought it was a great idea. Unfortunately, each time I have tried to use it, it tell ms the closest gas station is like 68th St & Thomas - it would take me lots of gas/money to get there. . ..