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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- When consumers select the gas station they want to fuel up at, price is the single most important factor, according to the findings of the 2012 NACS Consumer Fuels Report. Sixty-three percent of consumers list price as the primary influence on their choice -- more than three times any other factor.
Gas station selection also appears to be a quick decision, as 66 percent of the consumers who listed price as the main reason for their decision also said they decide where to go while driving and not prior to getting in their cars. NACS also studied the extent to which consumers will change their behavior, whether by driving out of their way or paying cash, in order to save a small amount of money on fuel. Twenty-three percent of consumers were willing to change their behavior to save just one cent per gallon.
"These findings show what most retailers already know: Loyalty at the pump only lasts until the next fill-up, and retailers must compete furiously for an uncommitted customer," said NACS vice president of government relations John Eichberger. "And consumer awareness of gas prices as part of their daily travels may help fuel their frustration over price increases because they are constantly surveying the landscape and monitoring prices."
The Consumer Fuels Report data was released as part of NACS' annual Retail Fuels Report, which examines conditions and trends that affect fuel prices. The report is released in February due to the month's traditional status as the start of the spring transition to summer-blend fuels for the petroleum industry, according to NACS.
"Our annual Retail Fuels Report is a critical communications tool to advocate on behalf of the industry, and it may be particularly important in 2012 as we begin the year with gas prices already at seasonal highs," said Eichberger. "Transparency is the key to understanding the motor fuels market, and we encourage retailers to share this information with key opinion-makers in their markets, whether [it's] state officials, reporters or customers."
NACS said it will release additional findings throughout this month.