Tag: complaint

Is Speedway the #1 gas brand?

Recently I came upon an article that stated Speedway was ranked the number one gas brand for the fifth quarter in a row. It is a part of a multi-brand survey put out by Harris Interactive as the EquiTrend Brand Survey.

In the survey they ask people about different brands in different categories like favorite hotel (Marriott), fast food (Subway) and favorite airline (Southwest). They say they base the survey on six base measures including familiarity, quality, purchase consideration, brand expectations, distinctiveness and trust. A seventh was added this year due to the economy, value.

So, the big question is, does Speedway deserve this award? To help find that out, first I want to review my experiences at Speedway for you here. Then I want to hear from you in the comments and see what you think of the brand.

Speedway is a pretty familiar brand in these parts. They are the 800lb gorilla in the Indiana, Michigan and Ohio markets, so I can see them ranking high in this area. They also have a good ad campaign.

For gas, I haven’t had any that was bad quality in my life. Most gas comes from the same rack anyway depending on the area, so quality in gasoline is really a moot point to me. The quality of the store on the other hand sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.

Speedway stores come in three kinds; large lot, medium lot and small lot. Most of the large lot stores are of higher quality. They have a big enough lot that even with 10-14 pumps, maneuvering is easy, and there is usually parking right in front. The inside of the store can typically be a little cramped, especially when busy up near the cashiers. There is a wide selection of chips, candy, snack cakes, fountain and pre-packaged drinks, and store prepared food.

The medium lot stores carry 6-10 pumps, and are a little tighter to maneuver in. You usually have to park on the side of the store to park legally, although some people squeeze in parallel to the front of the store. The store inside is much more cramped, and the selection suffers a little, too. The feel of quality is diminished here because the shopping experience is just not as good.

This is nothing compared to the small lot stores, which have 4-6 pumps, not even enough room to park in front of the store, have a very small selection of items and more than two people inside the store is pushing it. I have seen quite a few small lot stores demolished and rebuilt, re-branded to Rich stations, or just let go. They really drag down the quality of the brand in my eyes.

The inside of the store is usually clean, and I also give them good marks for clean bathrooms. Generally while cramped, the shelves are usually well stocked, and organized. Cashiers are sometimes rude, but overall I’ve had good experiences with them. Sadly, the free air to pump up my tires is now gone, one of my biggest complaints as of late.

Everybody’s heard of the Speedy rewards program. It’s free to sign up, and you can use it to get free stuff on purchases at Speedway. It has been a declining program, as a whole, however. At first you could get 10 points a dollar on any purchase. But as gas prices increased, they dropped the points you could earn for fuel purchase to 10 points per gallon. I used to be able to save up enough points to get a car wash 2-3 times a year (around 5000 points) but now I just use it to get the occasional soda (750 points).

For fuel purchasers like me, it’s not much of a reward program anymore, unless of course I go inside to buy a $50 gas card for fuel purchases, which puts an instant 1000 points on top of the 200-300 I’ll get for fuel purchases. They have also had 5 cents a gallon off during the weekends in September. They also say they have a surprise for us in November. Also, if you signed up for the Speedway MasterCard from Chase, you’ve seen your points diminish as well, as Patrick has commented on here previously.

So, is Speedway the best C-Store experience for me? I would have to say my favorite C-Store is BP. They are almost always three things; never crowded due to the size and spacing of the store, friendly, and clean. Of course, that’s just my experience in Indiana. I’d like to see more MotoMarts here as well after my visit to St. Louis in the dead of summer this year. Nice, big, clean, well stocked and besides flavor shots for your fountain drinks, they also have energy shots. Yum and zoom.

So, what are your thoughts on Speedway? And what do you consider the best gas brand out there?

BP “answers” complaint about “grade gap”, too little too late?

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about how I typically fuel up at BP and recently became frustrated with their new mark-up scheme on mid-grade and premium gasoline. Their “grade gap” (also known as the difference in price between grades) HAD been nine cents (3.90/3.99/4.08) for as long as I could remember. About a month ago, I noticed it jumped to eleven cents (IE 3.90/4.01/4.12). Since I pump premium in one of my cars, this became frustrating, especially with no other large chain pulling this kind of crap behavior with pump prices FALLING.

A week ago I noticed that most the BP stations I mentioned had dropped their grade gap back down to ten cents (3.90/4.00/4.10). What I don’t understand is why they must target those who require midgrade and premium fuels. Midgrade and premium typically are a small source of additional profit for a gas station, so why did some BP stations target select consumers to rake in more money? I don’t think what they did is right- tack on a few more cents (four) to pay for their losses or whatnot.

While BP did a mediocre job listening, they still didn’t want to give in to their pricing they used a few months ago. As the market has fallen they’ve been enjoying profiting some days even off regular gas. I guess I simply don’t understand their timing for raising their grade gap.

I’ll be purchasing fuel somewhere else until the stations I previously mentioned go back to their “normal” nine cent grade gap. I would encourage everyone who needs premium and midgrade to shop at a station that doesn’t play with their margins like some BP’s did.

PS- I did some research about cars, and found that more and more cars require premium than ever before, contrary to some believing otherwise. According to Autoblog, 166 vehicle models required premium in 2002. This year that number is up to 282.


I want to buy gas for $2.09 or less

Comment on last week’s prediction:  We got the price hike, to $2.19 last Wednesday, and then another hike to $2.25 on Monday.  Basically CORRECT.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 1:15 PM:  Last Wednesday’s price hike to $2.19 brought out something we haven’t seen in a while:  letters of complaint to the editor of the Grand Rapids Press.  We had got down below $1.90 in some places, so, percentage-wise, it was quite a jump, but let’s keep in mind that we are much cheaper than six months ago.  The two hikes of the past week pretty-much hit the pattern of jumping to the 20-cent margin price, although what has been tricky is that wholesale prices have been bouncing around a lot lately.  This afternoon, the 20-cent price is about $2.22, and the 0-cent margin price is $2.04.  As prices are mostly near $2.22, there won’t be another price hike this week, and I would buy gas at $2.09 or lower if I could, such as in Allendale.

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