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Why Buy WAY More Expensive Gas?!

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Sweating the Big Stuff

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There are two gas stations on this one corner on my way home.  One is a Kroger station and one is a Texaco.  They are directly across the street from each other.

The Kroger station is usually about the same price or a tiny bit lower than the average price of gas in Houston.

The Texaco is FREAKING EXPENSIVE!  I have no clue how they can possibly sell any gas at all!

To put this into perspective, here was the advertised price on August 4th, 2010 at the Kroger station:

In case you can’t see pictures on your current computer, it was $2.41 a gallon.

Here is the sign on the exact same day at the exact same time at the Texaco:

Again, if you can’t see pictures, that says $2.69 a gallon!  Yes, $2.69…

28 MORE CENTS A GALLON

(31 cents more if you have a Kroger card).  WTF?!

I don’t get it.  There were cars at the Texaco.  There is always a car or two at the Texaco.  WHY?  Even if these people hate Kroger, there is a Shell station a block down that is at least 25 cents cheaper a gallon every day.

I don’t get it.  I think the people buying that Texaco station’s gas are all stupid.  If that’s judgemental, so be it.

Am I missing something?  Does their gas come with a side order of lotto tickets, sex, jewelry, or gold?  I am so confused…why are people spending an extra $3.00 for every 10 gallons of gas?

35 thoughts on “Why Buy WAY More Expensive Gas?!”

  1. Nicole

    I’ve always wondered this myself. Is it easier to turn into one than the other given cross-traffic? Is it near a place where employees might have a discount (my sister gets a discount on Exxon gas from her work)? Does Texaco have full-service? Or maybe people know it will always be empty and not waiting is worth their time… Or maybe you’re right and the Texaco has a better store.

  2. Barb Friedberg

    Although I don’t adhere to this mindset, I know someone so concerned with BRAND RECOGNITION they will pay more for ANYTHING as long as it’s a recognizable brand. Additionally, believe it or not, there are some folks who don’t look at PRICES! Clearly, those individuals probably are not reading BFS!!!

  3. Everyday Tips

    That is crazy. I have seen a difference of a few pennies, but never that much.

    The only thing that would make me hit Texaco instead is a really clean bathroom, and desperation!

  4. Sandy L

    The only legitimate reason I would have is if you had a gas card and a company vehicle. I have a company car and can only buy from the big major gas stations. Some of the mom and pop ones and grocery stores ones aren’t on the list of available options.

    It is also not my expense, so I don’t shop around as much as I would if I were paying for it directly (I pay via my monthly car fee but that’s an indirect way of paying).

  5. BFS

    @Nicole, I can’t think of a discount being able to deduct 30 cents a gallon…if so, woot for them! It’s not full service and it’s only slightly easier to get to if you are in the far right lane on that side of the street. Otherwise, the Kroger or the Shell station a block down are much easier. This is why I’m so confused…

    @Barb, I hadn’t thought of brand recognition…maybe. I understand not looking at prices when they’re similar all the time (I rarely check the price closely of the Exxon I go to or the Kroger station since they are always within 1 penny of each other), but this Texaco is always 20-30 cents more per gallon. Only the blind should have the excuse of not checking at least once or twice, lol.

    @Everyday Tips, hahaha! I just thought of my grandma. She’d pay extra if they can guarantee her a clean bathroom…

    @Sandy L, good point. If it’s not their money, they could not care less…hmmm. I still conclude that the Texaco is thieving though. 🙂

  6. Squirrelers

    I think Barb brings up a good point about Brand Recognition. I remember way back when, being a teenager, and witnessing my friend paying a bit more for gas at one station than the other. When I asked why, he said that his Dad told him that it was a more known company.

    Hmmm……

    There’s definitely power in brands, and while we may view things more practically as we cut through the clutter, some other folks let this guide their purchasing behavior to a signfificant extent.

    I used to do my own version of this, just 5 years ago. I would pay $30 for a men’s haricut. I felt that I was getting a better cut and style than I would at some ordinary no-name place. One day I wanted a cut before a big presentation for work, and couldn’t get an appointment I the place I went to, so I just went to some $10 place. Guess what? They did just as good of a job. It hit me that there is very little reason for most guys to do anything other than that. Some people, maybe. But not for the ordinary low maintenance guy (like me).

  7. BFS

    Squirrelers, brand recognition could be it and I know a bunch of people who will not buy Kroger or Walmart gas, but there are Shell stations, other Texaco stations, and Exxon stations in the area that are still only 3-4 cents more expensive than Kroger…30 cents seems like a big price to pay for that special Texaco gas. I’m sure you two are right, but that is depressing…

  8. Little House

    It’s funny, now that I think about it, the few Texaco stations we have around here are MUCH more expensive than Shell or Chevron. I never visit a Texaco, and I’m not really sure how they stay in business. Maybe they have cornered the market on being the only gas station on long highway journeys, or something. I do recall them being the only station along the 10 hwy in certain places.

  9. BFS

    @Little House, I could see a company staying in business if it’s the only one to choose from for miles, but this station is right outside of a subdivision that has access to 4 stations within 1/4 mile in any direction…Texaco customers must be very loyal…

  10. Holly

    NO, I could never understand paying that much more simply for name recognition. The one thing that might entice customers is if the Texaco offer a rewards card that gives back at least 5%, but I’m not sure how one could profit w/such a pricing difference.

  11. BFS

    @Holly, now you see why I’ve been having a mental scream every time I see the place for the last few years. 🙂

  12. Rob

    In the same vein as the brand recognition, I think some people, for whatever reason, think that a specific brand of gas is “better” than the other.

    As far as I know though, gas is gas is gas.

  13. Nunzio Bruno

    On top of the brand recognition/loyalty there are some consumers that swear by the “recipe’s” different gas stations use. Each vendor essentially has the same fuel but might add a different additive or two which people might think helps there cars in the long run. I’m with everyone here though, there is no way I would pay for gas at that kind of premium especially when there is a direct competitor so close!!

  14. BFS

    @Rob, you’re right, gas is gas is gas.

    @Nunzio, I used to think about the additives too. Then I had a business teacher in college who worked with oil companies for 30 years before becoming a professor. He said that the advertised additives are in all gasoline since gas delivery trucks deliver to all stations…all the exact same gas. That said, it does sit longer unused at super small stations, so he suggested hitting stations with the lowest price that has regular traffic.

  15. Money Reasons

    Potential reasons:
    1.)They are paying with someone elses money (perhaps they have a Business expense card)
    2.) They are Anthropophobia, (so much so that they are willing to pay that premium)
    3.) They are too young to think (I was kind of like that at 16)…
    4.) They are to unfocused to think well (or an air-head).
    5.) They are in a hurry and the pump is open!

    But mostly, it’s because they are mathmatically challenged (how is that for being pc?) 😉

  16. Nicole @ Rainy-Day Saver

    Same thing happens here, too. It’s all about the brands. There’s a Shell station nearby that’s been stuck at $2.79 for months now. But I can still get Exxon gas less than 1/2 mile away for $2.49! Two well-known “brands” here, but drastically different prices.

  17. BFS

    @Money Reasons, hahaha…nice pc list! I guess judging all the people willing to pay so much more was a little mean of me. I just couldn’t imagine paying 30 cents more per gallon if I didn’t have to…

    @Nicole, sounds like I’d be going to the Exxon. 🙂

  18. Kim

    It’s inexplicable why certain stations are cheaper – where I grew up (10 miles away), Exxon was always very expensive and Texaco cheap. Here, Texaco sells the expensive gas. Who knows.

    As for “gas is gas” – I wonder if it’s just like store brand lightbulbs vs. GE – same factory, same process, just Target buys the unused capacity, thus at a discount.

  19. Jenna

    I always wonder that too! The only time I don’t go to the cheaper gas station is when it is Arco gas and that is because you have to get out of your car and go inside to pay and if you use a card it’s $0.45 cents more. So it’s worth it to me to save a couple of pennies and go to the next cheapest gas station.

  20. BFS

    @Kim, according to my professor, yes, that is how gas works too. I also have noticed that certain stations are always cheaper in my area too. Other than the Kroger and Walmart stations, it used to be Valero, but now it’s Exxon…weird…

  21. BFS

    @Jenna, that’s even better than me. If I have to wait at all for a pump, I go to the Exxon that’s 2-3 cents more. I’d never go to that Texaco though…I’d rather run out of gas and walk to the Kroger station…

  22. Jenna

    @BFS – That brings up an entirely new point. It depends on what state you live in! I’m from one of those states where it is illegal to pump your own gas so patience is key when it comes to waiting and wasting time in line for a couple of pennies less gas…

  23. Julie

    Crystal – I’m with Sandy here. A lot of times when I am working and driving a company vehicle, I can only go to certain gas stations to get gas. If I fly and get a rental, I can use my work CC and go anywhere. A lot of times, i go to wherever it’s convenient since they pay the CC.

    Personally, I cannot justify across the street, but I know i have paid more for gas due to a screaming baby and just not having the time to price compare like I used to.

  24. BFS

    @Jenna, I only learned that some states don’t allow you to pump your own gas a couple of years ago…from a Texan’s pov that is so weird. Do they tell you why they have that law? Is it for safety or something? I think it would be a little cool but only if I wasn’t in a hurry…

    @Julie, I didn’t take into account the screaming baby factor…good point. And yes, if my company was paying, I probably wouldn’t care as much, but I think 30 cents a gallon is crazy unless the company’s credit card is literally ONLY for Texaco. Then I’d fill up with a little evil smile on my face… 🙂

  25. Invest It Wisely

    BFS, what’s with the ads! I’m afraid to visit your site during my lunch break, now! :O

  26. BFS

    @Invest it Wisely, what specifically is wrong with the ads?! I can’t see them from work – are they innapropriate? Please let me know. Also, which ad or ads? I can remove the Adsense ad on the left or the Adbright ad on the right…which one is being a problem?

  27. Jenna

    @BFS – I think it’s for job security or safety or something. I’m not 100% sure. I just get out and start pumping my own gas if they aren’t helping right away. Sometimes I get yelled at, but I just say “oh I’m from out of state” and they usually calm down. I think it’s a pretty lame law…

  28. BFS

    @Jenna, HAHAHA! I love that! That does seem like a lame law…are you expected to tip the person operating the pump?

  29. Invest It Wisely

    BFS, I sent you the suspect ad to your inbox.
    P.S… give me $2.41 gas anytime! 😉 I haven’t run the conversion, but it would probably be closer to $4.00 over here.

  30. BFS

    @Invest It Wisely, thanks for the email. Adbright has been removed…I’m surprised at what they consider “not adult ads”!

    When we lived in Holland in 1997, gas equated to $6 or more per gallon and I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily I couldn’t drive at 15 anyway, but I am continually blown away about the price of gas around the world…

  31. Jenna

    @BFS – Now THAT is something I just learned about. My friend from out of state came to visit and was SHOCKED I didn’t tip the gas attendant who pumped my gas. And I had never heard of anyone doing that before in my life. So, to answer your question, nope.

  32. BFS

    @Jenna, cool. Then I’d appreciate the service although I would hate to be an attendant…

  33. Jenna

    @BFS – I’d hate to be a gas attendant in any state…

  34. BFS

    @Jenna, good point…

  35. Matty

    Have you heard of Syntek XFT? Seems to reduce gas costs by anything between 10-25% https://web.goxft.com Hope it helps!

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