Fill up on the cheap
Motorists can generally expect to pay less at the pump once Labor Day weekend is in their rear view mirrors.
But that might not be the case this year, AAA reports.
“Escalating tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, possible U.S. action in Syria or a major hurricane could make it more expensive to buy gas,” said AAA spokesman Avery Ash.
And that’s not good news, considering this past summer driving season — Memorial Day through Labor Day — was the third most expensive on record. Nationally, motorists paid an average of $3.58 per gallon. Prices were only higher in the summers of 2008 and 2011 — when gas averaged $3.95 and $3.65 per gallon, respectively.
What’s more, the price of crude oil reached $110.10 per barrel on Aug. 28. Fueled by market concerns about a possible U.S. strike in Syria and continued violence in Egypt and Libya, that’s the highest closing price since May 2011. Crude oil has remained above $100 per barrel since July 3, the same day the military took control in Egypt.
By comparison, crude oil closed at $96.47 to end the month in 2012.
But it’s not all bad news. AAA also reports that the average price of gas is 24 cents lower than it was at this time last year.
Currently, Red Wing area drivers can expect to pay an average of $3.59 a gallon, AAA reports. Last year, they were paying $3.77 a gallon.
So, while gas prices certainly could be worse, the uncertainty this September may have drivers looking for deals.
Here are some ways to save money at the local pumps.
Wilson OilMike Wilson, owner of Wilson Oil Co., 2355 Old West Main St., said he simply lowers the price of fuel 5 cents a gallon. Previously, that promotion only took place on Fridays. But about a month ago, Wilson said he expanded it to every day of the week.
“It just makes it a lot easier for the customers,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about coupons.”
Wilson said fuel sales have increased as a result.
Joe’s MobilKevin Ide of Joe’s Mobil, 609 Plum St., said his business doesn’t offer coupons for cents off a gallon.
Instead, he said he simply tries to keep gas prices relatively low.
“I try to stay as competitive as I can,” he said.
Instead of using coupons to bring customers in, Ide said, Joe’s Mobil uses customer service and personalized attention.
“I base my business on service,” he said. “People come in here and at least they can talk to someone and get their tires checked.”
Joe’s Mobil does offer $1 off a car wash with a full tank of gas.
EconoFoods grocery stores in Red Wing and Northfield offer the fuel$aver program, which gives customers gas coupons for spending money on groceries. Shoppers get 5 cents off per gallon if they spend more than $10; 10 cents off per gallon if they spend more than $50; and 15 cents off if they spend more than $100.
The coupons are printed out with the customer’s receipt. They are redeemable at participating Kwik Trip location and are valid for up to 20 gallons of fuel.
Kwik Trip, which has three Red Wing locations, offers gas coupons once a month in local newspapers, including the R-E. The flier — which includes coupons for 10, 7 and 5 cents off per gallon — comes out the first Wednesday of every month.
Motorists who sign up for SuperAmerica’s My SA Rewards card get 3 cents off each gallon of gas. The card also allows customers to earn points which can be redeemed in store for food, drinks and other merchandise.
SuperAmerica, 3211 N. Service Dr., also doubles all gas coupons, including those from competitors, on Tuesdays. Customers can bring in any coupon — from any company — and receive double the discount.