Is it Time to Make a Withdrawal from the Gas Bank?

by : Diane Nassy

Is it Time to Make a Withdrawal from the Gas Bank?

By Diane Nassy

Wouldn't it be great if you could have predicted the ridiculousprices that gasoline would hit, and bought a bunch of it beforeprices went through the roof?

Actually, many people did just that and, no, they didn't havebig underground storage tanks in their back yards. These peoplejoined a Gas Bank. "Eh, what's that?" you ask. Gas Bank, GasTank, what's the difference? You don't deposit gas into a gasbank, you deposit money. Here's how it all works....

Joining a Gas Bank is a lot liking trading on the commoditiesmarket. When you join, you pre-purchase a supply of gas at thethen current price. You receive a stored-value card, which issomewhat like a debit card, that you use to turn the gas pumpson at the bank's filling station.

Regardless of which way the price of gas goes, and it's beenonly going up lately, you're getting it for the prearrangedprice.

Here's an example:

Let's say that you bought 100 gallons of gas when the price was$1.999. You gave the gas bank $199.99, and they reserved 100gallons of gas for you at the $1.999 price. Every time you go tothe bank's filling station, you simply insert your card into thepump's card reader and put gas into your tank. The gas bankdeducts $1.999 for your account for each gallon. If the actualprice of gas today is $3.009, you're getting it at the locked-inprice of $1.999. Once you have used 100 gallons of gas, theamount that you originally purchased, you can purchase more gas"credits" and whatever price gas is selling for on the day thatyou make your new deposit.

Now, before you run out the door screaming "Halleluiah", youshould know that there aren't too many Gas Banks around. Infact, the only one that has any real visibility is located inMinnesota.

First Fuel Banks of St. Cloud, MN has over 8,000 members who areglad that they were smart enough to catch on to a good thing.Many of the members are fleet owners who operate severalvehicles for their business. Although Mom and Pop drivers aresaving a bundle as well, these commercial drivers are gettingdizzy over how great the savings are.

One business owner locked in 8,000 gallons when the price way at$2.069, and he's saving $.49 per gallon now that the price ishovering around $2.559 in his neck of the woods. While that maynot seem like a fortune, he'll save nearly $4,000 by the time heburns through his 8,000 gallons. Of course, most regular driversdon't use anywhere near that amount of gas in a reasonableamount of time. But they're still saving big by locking in acouple of hundred gallons at a time.

First Fuels Banks owners Denis Feneis, and his sons Jim and Dan,claim that the operation is profitable and predict that it willremain so. If there isn't a Gas Bank near you, maybe you shouldstart one