In the past month the average U.S.A. price of a gallon of gasoline has risen by 11 cents! The average price for “premium gas” (91 Octane rating) in the USA ranges between $3.98 to $4.27. This price increase had several of my American friends vehemently complaining over what they are paying for gasoline on Facebook.
Their statuses encouraged me to revisit what’s happened here in Israel since January 2011 when I last COMPLAINED blogged about the price of gasoline. Back then the Israeli government had increased excise taxes on gasoline causing self-service prices to jump from $6.71 to $7.14 per gallon for 95 Octane rating gasoline, (95 Octane is the lowest Octane rating available in Israel).
In the past two and half years we Israelis have seen some adjustments in the price of gasoline according to the world market per barrel price but it has never gone down below $7.14 per gallon. Adding insult to injury about a year ago our local gas station decided to discontinue their “Tank-Up Tuesday” weekly sale. With nothing to be done about it, we, Israelis accepted the high self-service pump prices and with time even gave up carefully planning our car trips.
A month ago, one of the gasoline companies started a new-fangled “we are saving you money” SCHEME sale. It works like this: The full service price for a liter (about a quarter of a gallon) 95 Octane gasoline is NIS 7.70 (or $7.70 for a gallon), from the full-service price the gas stations give their customers a 28 agorot (about 8 cents) discount per liter on the self-service price for paying in cash. That means that instead of paying NIS 7.52 at the self-service pump, the per liter cost becomes NIS 7.42, or a savings of 10 agorot (about 4 cents). But to pay in cash the customer has to enter the gas stations’ recently opened convenience stores. Lo and Behold! Right there at the check out counter are all manner of tempting items to purchase everything from brightly wrapped energy bars to cold bottled water, right next to them is a helpful little sign listing prices for everything from sandwiches to car toys for the little ones! But let me get back to the price of gasoline savings in Israel.
I did the math and learned that for my car’s 60 liter tank I can save NIS 6 per “fill-her-up”; that’s NIS 24 per month resulting in 3 free liters (3/4 of a gallon) of gas per month. I decided to try out the new sale. Like everyone else, I like feeling that I am getting something, even if it is a very little something, for free, so now I go to the trouble of making sure that I have cash on hand BEFORE I go to the gas station. Interestingly enough the gas station I use has a spanking new convenience store, but it hasn’t gotten round to installing a bank cash station on premises! Hmmm…how much do they really want to “help me” get those 3 free liters a month?
So far I have managed to stay organized with cash on hand for my gasoline purchase, as well as managing to stay strong and avoid the tempting check out counter products. But time, particularly summer time heat waves, will probably melt down my resolve…last week with temperatures hovering at a glimmering 35 degrees Celsius (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit) that shimmering 1/2 liter bottle of cold water sitting next to the cash register sure did start looking very good!!
Did I mention that at the entry to the gas station the sign says: “Pay With “Cash Money”: Get BIG Savings On Your Gasoline Purchase!”?