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TOLEDO, Ohio -- After a year of rising gasoline prices, prepaid gift cards are becoming a prime stocking stuffer, according to toldedoblade.com.
Mary Caprella, a spokesman for BP Plc, said gas gift cards were becoming popular last Christmas. One Toledo BP station sold $11,000 in gift cards in two weeks last December, Caprella said in the report. BP estimates that 30 percent of sales of gift cards occur in December.
"A gas card is something that everyone uses," Chris Fox, a spokesman for Speedway SuperAmerica, of Enon, Ohio, told toledoblade.com.
Other big oil companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron also offer gas gift cards. ExxonMobil Holiday Cash Cards are available in $25 and $50 denominations and Chevron accepts its gift cards at over 8,000 Chevron branded fuel stations in the United States.
Gerald Davis, a spokesman for Sunoco, said sales of pre-paid gas gift cards have posted double-digit growth in recent years.
"They have become more popular once the word got out," Marilyn Fox, co-owner of Barney's Convenience Stores, said in the report. "You can use them at the pump. You just pop them in like a credit card."
Many companies have started using gas cards as employee incentives or promotions according to Pamela Gerhardt, marketing director for SVM LP, a Des Plaines, Ill., company that issues, markets, and resells gift cards for several gasoline retailers.
"In days gone by, how could you give somebody gas as a gift? You couldn't," Gerhardt told toledoblade.com. "But now it has become a practical and lavish gift. Obviously the higher price of gasoline has helped increase sales of gas gift cards. But gift cards in general have become more popular."