Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is offering a ten-cent per gallon discount to customers who use its gift cards, a Walmart Money Card, or Walmart credit cards to buy gas. The discount is provided at the time of purchase and is only good at Murphy Oil and Walmart gas stations in about 20 states.
Murphy USA executive Angelos Lambis says about a thousand gas stations in eighteen states will participate.
Gwen Moritz, the editor of Arkansas Business magazine, says the move will help boost sales inside Walmart stores as well, since customers have to get and use Walmart cards to pay for the gas.
Walmart is not the first or only retailer to offer discounts on gasoline. Many stores tie the discounts to their loyalty card programs, which then must be swiped at the pump along with other payment cards.
Winn Dixie in Florida had its FuelPerks program while large national chain SuperValu gives discounts to loyalty card members based on store purchases and offers coupons in select markets.
Now Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain is expanding its fuel discount program, effectively tripling the amount customers can save per gallon from a $.10 cap per purchase to $.10 per $100 purchase and is making the program available to more markets.
Despite Walmart’s position as the nation’s largest retailer, analysts say that the deal is unlikely to do much to move gas prices.
“Gas stations don’t really offer deals,” says Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com, and Walmart is in a much different position because it’s a retail store that also sells gas. As Caldwell points out, bulk retailers such as Costco(COST_) have been offering lower gas prices to consumers for quite some time, but this hasn’t ushered in lower prices across the board.
Gwenn Moritz, mentioned below, said the gas discount is part of a larger strategy by Walmart to keep shoppers from going to dollar stores.
Read the Forbes blog at: http://blogs.forbes.com/lauraheller/2011/06/03/high-gas-prices-retailers-to-the-rescue/