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    AutoGas Receives Patent

    Process helps retailers develop promotions and customer loyalty programs.

    ABILENE, Texas -- AutoGas Systems Inc. yesterday received a "Notice of Issuance" from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a patent on a process that has been in development for several years, the company said.

    The process, carrying Patent Number 6,332,128, is a "system and method of providing multiple level discounts on cross-marketed products and discounting a price-per-unit volume of gasoline," said Randy Nicholson, chief executive of AutoGas.

    AutoGas technology using this patented process is already in place at many convenience stores, allowing retailers to reduce the price of fuel at the gasoline pump when customers respond to a promotion. Results have been even greater than AutoGas had initially hoped for.

    According to Nicholson, this technology allows the C-store industry to focus on revenue growth and loyalty.

    AutoGas believed that gasoline sales were ideal for cross-marketing and customer loyalty programs, and they began working on the process that has now been patented. It allows c-stores to move away from price-sign marketing and emphasize instead consumer-based loyalty marketing programs. The process also allows c-stores to make better utilization of trade dollars. The AutoGas system can use bar code technology, radio frequency ID/wireless, magnetic stripe or PIN numbers to execute the redemption of customer rewards.

    "We are very excited about this patent," Nicholson said. "We've completed beta testing, and based on market tests and the results of those tests, we know this technology is going to change the industry."

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