The Free Press, Mankato, MN

St. Peter news

February 8, 2013

Escalating gas prices fuel concern

(Continued)

Sometimes, higher gas prices can have a positive effect on business.

Over the years, Land to Air Express General Manager Jason Mekalson has noticed a pattern arise when fuel prices go up. “It takes a bit of time. Then people start thinking about being more efficient.” He’s seen an increase in the number of riders using his service to travel to Minneapolis/St. Paul and Rochester.

Land to Air’s 14 passenger shuttle vans use diesel, which had an average price of $3.55 per gallon in the state Friday. Mekalson has seen prices for that fuel rising steadily for about a year.

Mekalson expects to see people take more cost-saving measures, such as doubling up and carpooling if the pinch at the pump continues.

Normally, gas prices don’t rally until later this month or in early March, according to an NBC story out of Dayton, Ohio. Analysts say the early rise was due to several factors, including refineries closing or shutting down for maintenance and climbing crude prices.

Coupon clippers’ use of “10 cents off per gallon” appear to be rising as gas prices keep going up. An attendant at St. Peter’s Kwik Trip said she sees a consistent number of coupons being redeemed when people fill up their vehicles.

Some groceries stores have coordinated with local gas stations on cost-saving deals for their shared customers. Hy-Vee Food Stores provides Fuel Saver cards and Cub Foods’ offers a rewards promotion with discounts at the pump.

Karen Giesler of St. Peter is a member of two-vehicle household — one’s a four-wheel drive truck. She doesn’t see herself as an ardent coupon clipper, but she has learned to shop around when buying gas.

“Basically, we use gas coupons,” she said. “A little savings is better than none.”

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