When buying gas, which of the following
factors are most important to you?
Price 66% 71% 63% 70% 73% 66%
Location 20% 18% 20% 19% 16% 22%
Brand 8% 8% 8% 9% 10% 9%
Ease of Entrance/Exit 4% 2% 6% Not Asked Not Asked Not Asked
(Source: 2014 NACS Consumer Fuels Report; Gas prices reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at the start of the year.)
Attracting real estate buyers is all about location, location, location. And attracting gas
customers is all about price, price, price.
That’s a line we’ve used many times to explain the retail fuels industry to reporters. It’s
a helpful sound bite to simplify a complex industry to the general media.
Of course, incredible complexities exist
within this most basic emphasis on price. To
uncover these intricacies, NACS regularly
surveys gas consumers to learn more about
how they shop for price and what effect gas
prices have on other spending — whether
inside the store or in other channels.
NACS has surveyed consumers about
their fuel purchasing behavior since 2007,
and these surveys continue to be a critical
component of the annual NACS Retail Fuels Report ( nacsonline.com/gasprices) released each February. Over the past year we
have significantly enhanced our surveys and
now provide monthly consumer insights
that allow us to drill down even further to
determine how gas prices affect broader
So with all of this consumer information
in our hands, we’ve learned a thing or two
about how your customers shop for fuel,
what’s driving their behavior and what it
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Pricing has consistently ranked as the top reason
why consumers buy gas at a particular location, with
roughly two-thirds of all consumers saying that it is
the most important factor in selecting a fueling location, even as gas prices fluctuated from under $2 per
gallon to more than $3 per gallon.
Among those consumers who cite gas prices as
their top reason for shopping at a specific store, 57%
said the reason they select a location is because of the
posted price. However, this reason is declining and
other factors are growing in importance, including
discounts and a retailer’s reputation.
Consumers could be planning where they want to
stop for fuel before they even drive by a gas price sign,
which means they’re choosing a store because of its
reputation for low prices or its tie-in to a loyalty program. Consumers are also researching (online or via
mobile app) area prices.
This year’s survey found that women are more
likely to shop based on gas price sign (60% ver-