Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saving $ at the Pump-BUYER BEWARE UPDATE

I've written a couple of posts now about Kroger and Shell's promotion for saving gas. Although I still think it's a good deal, they have yet to work out the kinks. I went again today for my bi-weekly fill-up--I even tried a different Shell station--and the machines would not read my Kroger card (which I had just used at a store an hour before). Even when I typed in my number, it didn't register. So I began pumping without swiping my credit card, and the clerk inside managed to make it work. It was a hassle but it was nice to save $.40 a gallon ($7.60 for the van).

Since I'm watching ever nickel these days, it also occurred to me to check prices at the closest Shell stations. I was a little surprised to learn there was a seven cent difference per gallon in the three closest to our house, and unfortunately I stopped at the priciest station today. I could have saved another $1.33 just by going the other direction. Good info for next time. The most important tip is not to drive out of your way to save a few cents (thus burning gas, money, and time). I just try to make sure a gas fill-up is paired with another nearby errand.

I've emailed a Kroger customer service rep about the card reading errors, but they have not responded yet (two weeks now). I applaud them for a creative way to save customers money and to entice new customers to Shell, but they should have really figured out the kinks before they rolled out the promotion. Hopefully they'll fix it before implementing in other markets.

Have you had problems using your Kroger card at Shell stations?

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