Gas Banks Help Drivers Save Thousands

Gas Banks Help Drivers Save Thousands

Bridgette Bornstein
Reporting

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(WCCO) In San Francisco, gas is selling for more than $4 a gallon.
Meanwhile, prices in the Twin Cities range from $2.32 to $2.57 a gallon. The nationwide average is $2.40.
Explanations for the high costs include trouble in the Middle East, high summer gas demand and hurricanes.
A new poll shows almost two-thirds of Americans think higher pump prices will cause financial hardship.
The most worried are people with low incomes, the unemployed and minorities.

Whether you talk to soccer moms in the Twin Cities or business owners who log lots of miles on the road, the price of gas could be life-changing.

“There does come a time when these prices get so high where we’re going to have to adjust our prices,” drycleaner owner Jim Rossman said. “Just like other small businesses, when your expenses go up, you’re eventually going to have to raise your prices as well.”

A recent survey found that the average Minnesota family will pay $3,400 for gasoline this year, accounting for more than seven percent of their yearly income.

Some Minnesotans have found a way to fight the rising gas prices by locking in a rate.

That’s the good part. The bad part is it’s only available in limited areas.

The company, First Fuel Banks, has pumps in St. Cloud, Waite Park, and Monticello.

Customers who took a risk by buying ahead of time are feeling pretty lucky now.

Sandy Massmann was one person who took a chance. When gas was $1.67 last summer she put down $1,000. Guess who’s getting a good chuckle now every time she fills up.

“I love this!” Sandy Massmann said, laughing. “I drove past the other gas stations, $2.49, and it’s like, ‘Yes, here we go!'”

Herman Roerick said he has saved about $5,000 in fuel costs during the past ten years. He bought $2,000 worth of gas a few months ago at $1.95. Now, he wishes he had purchased even more.

“You always think, “Gee, is it going to go back to 89 cents or 79 cents so you don’t want to buy too much, yet enough to get you by for six months or a year,” Roerick said.

If you wanted to buy gas today, it would cost about $2.49. There’s no minimum or maximum to buy and you keep that rate until you use up your supply.

Jim Feneis started First Fuel Banks in 1982 and now boasts about 8,000 members. One location stores 555,000 gallons.

“We’ve been able to stay profitable and stay healthy,” Feneis said, adding that he plans to keep the company small for now. Currently, there are six pumps in the St. Cloud area with no plans to expand.

(© MMV, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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