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Gas Its Everywhere

Glenn Wescott

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High gas prices. They are everywhere; all over the news, all over the talk shows called news, in conversations wherever you go and on every corner. I remember the gas shortage crisis in the 1970s caused by the “Arab Embargo". Gas prices were going up; you had to wait in line to buy gas, there was some gas rationing and most vividly I remember the rapid shift to the small car, the gas savers. It seemed everybody started to drive a Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Datsun or Mazda and the US manufacturers introduced the Omni, Horizon, Fiesta, Chevette, the Cricket, and a host of other strange named, small 4 cylinder cars. We are not seeing the gas lines this time, but there is a shift to smaller and more fuel efficient cars. It's not as quick as the 70's and definitely not as apparent on the street. If you look though you will start to see more hybrids, nice looking smaller sedans and crossover cars (half SUV and half sedan) and most noticeably gas scooters and motorcycles.

In my part of Florida and I would guess everywhere else it is hard to trade in a truck, SUV or a large sedan. The dealers have more in stock than they can move. Sadly many people are upside down on the big vehicle and can't afford to trade, so they are stuck with the gas guzzler. This is probably one the main reasons for the slower shift to more fuel efficient vehicles, also its going to take a while for the manufacturing to catch up, if they can. As inconceivable as it may seem some of us are not going to be able to afford the gas to get to work. How many remember car pooling, the law limiting speed on the highway to 55 mph, or CAFE the Corporate Average Fuel Economy act congress enacted in 1975, where all cars were to achieve 27.5 miles per gallon by 1980. And the government sponsored ad campaign, appropriately tagged “Don't be Fuelish".

What happened? In the 1970s we learned the hard way that we, the American consumer did not really control the flow of oil with our pocketbook. Did we forget? Why did we all buy the big cars and trucks? Why did we all move miles and miles away from the job? Why did we buy bigger houses requiring more energy? Why are gas prices so high? These questions and many more are the subjects for other articles or discussions. The fact is gas is $4.00 per gallon. We need to use less of it and find ways to spend less on it.

The gas companies do have a problem. They have lost their brand loyalty and they know they need to get it back. We don't buy gas by brand anymore, we buy by gas price. We drive along looking at the gas station signs and pull into the lowest price we see when we absolutely need to have it. And we are not filling up, we buy $10, $15 whatever because it might be cheaper in a few days or even further down the road. It's the find cheap gas game and it is spreading.

You will begin to see television commercials for gas companies; its been a long time since they have advertised on TV. . . “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star. . . " that was a great jingle. I saw one for Citgo the other day; it did not push the gas, the commercial promoted the importance of Citgo to the community, its image, their brand. Another marketing program is rewarding consumers with prepaid gas cards. You will see these programs grow. You will get a certificate by purchasing it or as a customer of a merchant who will give you one as a promotion. Follow the instructions on the certificate and purchase gas from one Gas Company. When you have (in one case) $100 worth of receipts, send them to the redemption center and you will get a prepaid gas card usually worth $25.00. I'm in the program and I get a $25 gas card each month for a year, by buying my gas ($100 worth each month) at the same gas company. These programs are real savings. Think about it, you'll drive out of your way to save 2 cents a gallon; if you buy 20 gallons you just saved 40 cents, total. A rewards certificate gas card can save you 40 cents a gallon, even a $1 a gallon, do the math. And the gas company has me going to get their brand for least $100 per month for a year. It appears to be a good deal for all. The lowest gas prices can be at your corner gas station.

Glenn has been marketing since 1978. He has worked with many products. With over 30 years in the marketing field, 17 in direct marketing, he has seen about every type of product and has experienced every marketing venue possible to bring a new product directly to the consumer. He has written and produced television, radio, print and mail advertising in every format, size or length available to the direct marketer. Gas4America


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