High gas prices and thin profit margins have owners of small Gas stations feeling the squeeze. More than 3 thousand gas stations around the country have closed-down during the past year. Meanwhile, big supermarket chains are stepping in, offering deep discounts on gas to customers.
Rosemary Mezree and her husband Mohamed coordinate their work schedules to get gas at their local Stop and Shop. They fill their tanks together in order to use the store's new reward program more efficiently.
Rosemary says she and her husband see considerable savings every time they fill their tanks.
"I spent $62.61 and $45.94. I got a discount of 35 cents off per gallon. That's a significant savings."
Robert Keene, a spokesperson for Stop and Shop, says the program is simple.
"You simply use your Stop and Shop card while buying your groceries, and for every $50 dollars you purchase, you save 10 cents each gallon off the price of gas."
The more money customers spend, the more points they get on their Stop and Shop card, and the more discounts they get on gas. Other grocery stores such as Price Chopper and Shaws, along with Discount retailers BJ's and Costco, are also offering gas discounts to their customers.
Peter Goia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association says the reward program is a smart ploy by the Supermarkets to build greater customer affinity.
"They realize that the people are upset about gas prices, and they're upset about food prices. They sell both. How do they get them to not be upset in their shopping experience, well they give them something that seems to be a bonus."
Goia says in-chain stores offering gas discounts might have a slight impact on gas stations in surrounding areas, but Michael J. Fox from the Connecticut Automobile and Gasoline Dealers Association disagrees.
He says huge manufactures are able to offer these big discounts, and that's been driving small retailers out of the gasoline business.
Fox says consumers are also driving out of state, to New Jersey and Massachusetts, which have lower gas taxes.
Stop and Shop operates 50 gas Stations in New England. Officials say it's too early to gage the economic impact the program, however they say the feedback from customers is positive.Â