Oh the unexpected problems with super cheap gas!

WOW!! I was able to get gas for $1.55 @ gallon in the super low gas tax state of South Carolina this week!!!

Here is the problem, I used to do binge shops for Chevron, Exxon and Shell and never really had to think about the level of my gas tank. Now, even getting to my first job on fumes is not enough as after the 5th or 6th shop.... I am done for the day whether or not I have 4 more gas stations on my list.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about low gas prices but I wonder if it is time for the cluster of MSC that offer these projects (typically hundreds in a geographic region) to reconsider the $5 gas purchase requirement. Might $3 be enough with the other two being added to the shop fee?

Twice this year I have gotten into this sort of jam and had to call the MSC and ask for date extensions. I have even taken to buying premium gas for my 2007 Crown Victoria, something I never imagined I would ever do.

How have others dealt with this relatively new problem?

Big Ed
Mystery shopping in the Great Smokey & Blue Ridge Mountain ranges of Southern Appalachia (GA, NC, SC, & TN)
BigEdBSA@gmail.com

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No... I still have to purchase a stick of gum to stay within or close to my reimbursement limit. My 10 year old car required premium gas.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
I like the gas container answer. Or (strange as it may sound), if you are already full when you get there, how about finding the worst looking vehicle at the pump (maybe one with several kids who seem to be of lesser economic status) and "paying it forward" by offering to buy them $5 worth of gas? For some people, that might mean the difference of feeding the kids that night or not. Just a thought...
The gas was $1.69 regular unleaded for cash. Credit was a dime higher per gallon.

The Stations were having a price war across the (major) highway from each other.

The town told them shut down and raise the price of gas because they were causing a traffic jam on the highway.

You just can't win. You have to fill your tank elsewhere so you can wait in the line to get the cheap gas or turn it off and push. The line was over a mile long. Does that make sense?
Anybody who waits in a long line for gas is...IMHO...someone who does not value their time. If your vehicle has a HUGE GAS TANK (say 25 gallons, which is unusual), and you save a DOLLAR PER GALLON (unlikely), then you just saved $25 (if your tank is DRY when you pull up)...BUT you just spent an hour of your time in line...and if you had your vehicle RUNNING, well, then you also burned 1/3 to 1/2 gallon, sitting there. So DEDUCT that from your savings. Oh...and what about wear and tear on your engine, idling for that long? Oh, so you shut it off, did you? And you restarted it what? Like fifteen times, bumping that starter, so you now have fifteen FEWER times left before you have to buy a new one? And you saved, did you? Really? While you were in line, I did two shops for $15 each...and my starter and engine have less run time on them. So have fun, waiting in that line. Oh, and if you have a smaller tank than the huge 25 gallons I mentioned above OR it's not BONE DRY when you get to that pump...well, then you REALLY GOT HOSED, waiting in that line, cuz you saved LESS THAN $25 and blew an hour, doing it.
Good point, Frank. I have to laugh when I see people lined up at a gas station because it's 10¢ cheaper than the one across the street.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I think right now people just want the bragging rights of how cheap they found gas today.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
OK, FIND THE CHEAPEST GAS...and brag. Just take a pic with your cell phone (while NOT driving) and tell us about it. Don't wait an hour to save ten cents. Sheesh.
@frank860 wrote:

I like the gas container answer. Or (strange as it may sound), if you are already full when you get there, how about finding the worst looking vehicle at the pump (maybe one with several kids who seem to be of lesser economic status) and "paying it forward" by offering to buy them $5 worth of gas? For some people, that might mean the difference of feeding the kids that night or not. Just a thought...

I have done that many times.
You want to find the cheap gas? gasbuddy.com people input the prices from the stations on the website and app and you can see what they are.
I've had to stop doing the gas station routes because it's not feasible with the lower price. I have a 12 gallon tank and get 34-36mpg. The directions I have say not to use containers and most of the stations are in rural areas where you won't always find someone who you can "pay it forward" without having to wait around.

.
Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
I ran into this problem yesterday. I had three shops scheduled in a certain area only to find out my tank was full and my husband was not home with his vehicle. Shop #1 was a USPS that needed to be done before 4:30 and the two gas stations I wanted to do in the dark. Had to go to USPS, pay tolls and distance, return home, wait for darkness for a brief time, switch cars and return to pay tolls and distance again. But I got 'em done and all is good. Just a screw up in my carefully planned scheduling. Actually, the problem arose when I encountered a station that required a $10 minimum for a credit card. I knew that was going to mess things up a bit when I had 12 stations to do this week. Loaded with gas and ready to go into February. P.S. I'm sick of gas station audits.

*****************************************************************************
The more I learn about people...the more I like my dog..

Mark Twain
With the amount of gas shops I usually do, full tank in both cars is a problem. More so now that gas is cheaper.

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
Low gas prices STILL haven't hit my corner of the world. It's only down to $2.79 per gallon so suggesting to these cheap people that they take the gas reimbursement down to only $3 is not the answer here

Her Serene Majesty, Cettie - Goat Queen of Zoltar, Sublime Empress of Her Caprine Domain
Let's see, gas is high and the gas requirement/reimbursement is too low. Gas is low and the gas requirement/reimbursement is too high. Sorry guys, mine is just right. B U T the other side of the story. Mine is just right because I am soooo directionally challenged, even with OnStar. Once I put the gas in, I drive half of it up finding my way to the next station LOL

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou
Why not schedule fewer gas shops that day, leaving some to other shoppers, and fill the time with other types of shops?
In order to make the route profitable, or at least break-even in terms of wear on my vehicle, etc., leaving some of the shops on the table isn't an option.

.
Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
If you are doing these projects for the same MSC I am, then ExxonMobil is $5 MAXIMUM reimbursement but I have gone as low as a dollar when I was full and have been been paid for the shop. Likewise when I do Shell shops, 2 gallons is the MAX they will reimburse, but have been paid if pumping only 1 gallon. I just make sure to pay at the pump and barely squeeze the handle so it still takes me a while and I don't draw attention to myself.
If someone can make a profitable route without pumping the full amount of gas, that's great. I understand that in many areas the stations are close together, and there's no other way to keep working. I'm sure I will eventually run into that situation myself now that the price is lower, although I hate the thought of leaving money on the table.

When I'm doing a lot of gas station audits, I try to schedule routes of other types of shops in between, even at less than my usual rates sometimes, because the gas I use would otherwise be lost by pumping less than the full amount when I resume the gas station shops.

In the meantime, lower gas prices are better for someone like me who does a lot of driving. Also, it gives me a better chance of getting bonused gas stations that otherwise would have been taken by someone who does them largely for the gas reimbursement. I'm not saying that's good or bad; just making an observation.
I think this may be the only profession in which cheap gas is a problem.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
Not me, I love it

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
My husband bought super cheap gas and shortly thereafter, his SERVICE ENGINE NOW light flashed on. He had to have that gas emptied from his tank and the whole system flushed, cost him $268.00. He went to the station where he purchased the gas with the invoice from the service station, which stated exactly why he needed that done. The gas station reimbursed my husband for the entire cost of the bill!

Yes, we are still trying to pick up our jaws from the floor! There ARE honest people in business out there!

Robinv
@robinv wrote:

My husband bought super cheap gas and shortly thereafter, his SERVICE ENGINE NOW light flashed on. He had to have that gas emptied from his tank and the whole system flushed, cost him $268.00. He went to the station where he purchased the gas with the invoice from the service station, which stated exactly why he needed that done. The gas station reimbursed my husband for the entire cost of the bill!

Yes, we are still trying to pick up our jaws from the floor! There ARE honest people in business out there!

Robinv

Reminds me when I did a shop to have oil changed and washed. Service agent forgot to put cap back on tightly, to the tune of aut $250 in repair bills. I emailed the mgr at the car was. I had the option of being reimbursed or getting BOTH our cars fully DETAILED once a month for 6 months. As it was the beginning of the rainny, muddy, snowy season, we both drove clean cars into summer smiling smiley

There are LOTS OF HONEST people out there!

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou
I recently had five gas stations coming up, so I purposefully let my tank get low so I would be ready. Then my son borrowed my car the night before, saw my tank was near empty and filled it up for me. smiling smiley

I made my neighbor very happy when I asked him if he wanted to siphon half my tank into his car so I could to the assignments, lol.
Hubby says it is not a good idea to run the gasoline tank so low that you are almost out as you arrive at the first station.

His reason: He says that there is sediment that lies at the bottom of your gas tank as well as the fuel pump that lies in a well within your gas tank.

When the tank is run that low, the sediment first goes through the fuel pump and then through your fuel injectours or carburetour. Over time, operating in this manner fouls both areas to the point where one may have to repair the areas.

He said there are in-line fuel filters and they often clog first. However, even then, the repair or cleaning of the filters is costly and usually they fail at the most inopportune time.

He said that to replace the fuel pump in his pickup truck cost $900 and that was not including the towing service.

Lastly, he says that in the winter, even with alcohol blended gasoline, a very low gas tank may cause condesation inside the tank, thereby adding water to the gasoline.

To me, it seems it would be best to gauge my route and not max out my fuel purchases rather than risk the damage and subsequent repairs.
@BigEdBSA wrote:

Might $3 be enough with the other two being added to the shop fee?

I would never, ever wish for a reimbursement amount to be decreased. The MSCs in question might be happy to lower the reimbursement amount, but I doubt we'd see the extra two bucks added to the shop fee, and I also doubt the reimbursements would go back up when fuel costs rise -- which they are already doing in my part of the world.
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