BP Helps Columbus Drivers 'Commute Better'

Initiative offers advice, coffee coupons, umbrellas, sunglasses, perks, more

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In an effort to introduce Columbus, Ohio, drivers to local commuting solutions, BP Products North America Inc. has conducted a survey and has launched its first-ever "Commute Better" program, focusing on little things that can improve the quality of commuters' daily travel. BP hopes to ease the daily grind by providing tips and incentives to drivers.

Two dedicated on-the-ground Commute Crew teams that will interact with drivers in the morning and evenings, offering perks such as coffee coupons (while supplies last, for use at participating sites), free [image-nocss] umbrellas during rainstorms, sunglasses on bright days and a chance to win free BP gasoline for a year.

Details on special BP site offers, such as a forthcoming market-wide loyalty program, will be accessible via mybpstation.com/Columbus (http://mybpstation.com/Columbus) starting in August.

The campaign will feature a panel of local experts including Columbus' go-to traffic authority Craig Sinclair, on-the-go moms and auto expert, Dan "Boots" Longenette, who will share firsthand advice on all aspects of the commute.

"We are thrilled to launch the Commute Better initiative in Columbus and focus on the little things that can help improve and maximize drivers' time on the road," said Kevin Phelan, BP vice president of sales and marketing. "Whether it's a hot cup of coffee at your local BP station, the ability to get a few more miles out of each tank of gas, or the timing of an important morning traffic report, BP hopes to make Columbus drivers' commutes more enjoyable this summer."

The daily commute of Columbus drivers is not generally as stressful as that of other U.S. cities, according to Kiplinger research, but a recent survey commissioned by BP Products North America Inc. suggests there is room for improvement. From impacted moods to concerns over wear and tear, Columbus drivers are familiar with the burdens of commuting, yet three out of four drivers do not deviate from their usual routine in order to improve it.

Here are some of the commuting issues that BP's survey revealed: 86% of Columbus commuters agree that they have a very specific route that they adhere to on a daily basis. But, in fact, being well-versed in alternate routes may be the difference in getting out of the occasional traffic-jam. A bad commute can leave a lasting impression, especially when it comes to long distance commuters. The burden of time spent on the road was more prevalent amongst drivers who travelled more than 20 miles each way, with 65% admitting to showing up late for work over the last year. And, overall, three out of five Columbus commuters agree that a bad commute can impact their mood for the rest of the day. 20% say they spend three to five hours of their work week on the road and 47% rack up more than 100 miles. For all this time and mileage spent on the road, 71% commuters are concerned about the ongoing impact this has on their vehicles. Data collected by RDR Research shows that Columbus commuting behaviors vary when it comes to those with short commutes (less than 30 minutes) versus longer commutes (more than 30 minutes.) Insights include: For those drivers who do vary their commute, those with commutes of more than half an hour are significantly more likely to follow a typical, alternate route (69%) than those with shorter commutes of 10 to 15 minutes (40%) and 16 to 30 minutes (45%). Special errands or traffic obstacles are the top reasons for exploring a different route. Two out of three of all commuters break their routine commute for special errands. Those with commutes of less than 10 miles (72%) are significantly more likely to run errands than those driving 20+ miles (61%). When facing heavy traffic, nearly 40% of commuters cite high traffic areas as a reason they deviate from their normal commute This was an especially popular choice among those traveling 16 to 30 minutes (50%) and 31+ minutes (38%) than it was for those with shorter commutes of 10 to 15 minutes (23%).

BP markets more than 15 billion gallons of gasoline every year to U.S. consumers through more than 11,000 BP- and ARCO-branded retail outlets and supplies more than four billion gallons of fuel annually to fleets, industrial users, auto and truck manufacturers, railroads and utilities. BP is the single, global brand formed by the combination of the former British Petroleum, Amoco Corp., Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) and Burmah Castrol. BP is a global producer, manufacturer and marketer of oil, gas, chemicals and renewable energy sources.

The online survey was conducted on behalf of BP Products North America Inc. between July 1 and July 13 by Richard Day Research. Respondents included 452 male and female commuters in the Columbus, Ohio, designated market area(DMA) and 111 mothers who drive their kids to and from school or other activities (63 of these mothers were also work commuters).