Motorists Hungry for Cheap Gas

Consumers would drive farther, pay with cash to save 5 CPG: NACS survey

Gas prices NACS (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. --Consumers are intent on getting the best deal on gasoline, despite the past three months of falling gas prices that are close to six-year lows; 71% of consumers said price was the most important factor in deciding where to buy gasoline, according to the latest consumer survey from NACS.

To save five cents per gallon (CPG), 63% of consumers said they were willing to drive five minutes out of their way, while 72% were willing to pay with cash; 65% said they took advantage of a discount, such as paying with cash or using a loyalty card, to save money.

"It doesn't matter whether gas prices are $4 or $2 per gallon, consumers still want to find the best price possible," said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. "Retailers are constantly fighting to attract price-sensitive drivers to their stores, especially given that 35% of gas customers say that they also go inside the store after fueling."

The low prices are also putting consumers in a driving mood, the survey said, with 95% saying this makes it easier to go on vacation, and one-fifth saying they are driving more. In fact, consumers told NACS that gas prices would have to jump by $1.53 per gallon before they would decrease their driving--the greatest gap between current gas prices and the price that would influence driving behavior in the history of the survey.

More than 90% of consumers saw low gas prices as good for the economy; however, two-thirds expect gas prices to go up in the spring. And by Jan. 1, 2016, consumers predicted a per-gallon price of $2.95.

Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates LLC conducted the survey for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) with 1,108 gas consumers between Jan. 6 and 8, 2015.

To see more results, click here.