It should come as no surprise that price remains the number one consumer concern when thinking about fuel, as Americans spend on average 5% of their household income on fuel. Because of this concern, consumers have become savvier when shopping for fuel, often utilizing new mobile apps and discount cards, as well as tracking prices along their commutes. In January, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) unveiled their 2015 NACS Consumer Fuel Survey. The results show that when consumers were asked "When buying gas, which of the following factors is most important to you?" price topped the list at 71%, followed by location of store/station at 18%, brand at 8%, ease of entrance or exit at 3%, and other at 1%. NACS also found other trends that show consumers place a high priority on pricing:
- "Approximately two in three consumers consistently shop on price, whether gas was as low as $1.62 per gallon in 2009 or as high as $3.28 per gallon in 2013. Even after the sharp gas price declines over the past few months, consumers still price shop for gasoline."
- "...how do price-sensitive consumers shop by price? The traditional gas price sign remains the most common method...Loyalty cards remain a strong second choice..."
- "Nearly half of all consumers have a preferred gas station or chain (48%), and not surprisingly, the main reason is lower prices."
- "Of those ages 18-34, 82% would seek out debit card discounts and 78% would seek cash discounts."
- Beyond payments, consumers also would go out of their way to save money on their gas purchases. Nearly two in three say that they would take a left-hand turn across a busy street (64%) or drive 5 minutes out of their way (63%) to save 5 cents per gallon.
- "...more than one in three consumers say that they would drive 10 minutes out of their way to save 5 cents per gallon. While it might feel good to find a "deal" on gas prices, the action is a money-losing proposition, even with gas prices hovering around $2.20 per gallon."