MSR Houston has switched to an Ethanol-Free fuel by Gulf Racing Fuels and has seen an uptick in sales and pleased drivers.
Last year the management of MSR Houston, a country club track outside of Houston, contacted Gulf Racing Fuels and laid the problem on the table. They were not selling enough gasoline. The track was selling a street premium gasoline and they were seeing declining sales.
Looking at the pump prices it was easy to see the issue was the price. The premium ethanol-based gasoline was selling for about 45 cents per gallon over the nearest gasoline stations price. Not many will spend half a buck when they can zip two miles down the road to fill up with a top-tier premium gasoline.
Gulf executives conferred about the solution. Back in the conference room, Gulf presented a surprising alternative and here’s how the conversation went. “We have this fuel we developed for power boat racing that is EPA Approved and that is important as you are in a reformulated gasoline (RFG) area. We have never contemplated selling this fuel at a track but we are selling it to gas stations and marina’s where an ethanol-free fuel is demanded. We can sell it to you through your local petroleum distributor as he carries it in his bulk storage location. The problem is the price, it will sell for about $1 over the street price of premium ethanol-based gasoline. We don’t have a price issue at the current retail locations as the ethanol-free gasoline is demanded. Customers don’t ask about the price they just buy it.
“Let me show you this app that our customers use to locate our retail locations for the Gulf Marine Premium gasoline. It’s called Pure-Gas (www.pure-gas.org). It is location dependent so when ever you open the app it will display the nearest locations for ethanol-free gasoline. If you carry this fuel then you can be the latest retailer. Your location will show up on the app for anyone opening the app at the track or even nearby.
“Here is our proposal, we can supply you with the premium ethanol-free gasoline, we will put our branding on your dispenser, set your location up on our dealer locator and issue a press release about the new supply location.”
Track management worried about customer reaction to the higher priced product but what did they have to lose as sales were very low. Track management agreed and the process started with supplying the Gulf ethanol-free gasoline two weeks before the announcement. But, the first weekend the fuel was available the track held a test and tune day open to the public. Sure enough early Saturday morning a customer walked into the track office and questioned the new price on the premium gasoline. The track manager heard the complaint and stepped to the desk to personally explain that the fuel was new and the branding was not yet on the dispenser but the fuel was ethanol-free and EPA-approved. Instead of having a dissatisfied customer the customer clapped his hands and said, “I didn’t think you could legally sell the gas here without ethanol. Before the manager could answer the customer exited the building and gave his team a thumbs up, “It’s ethanol-free guys,” he said.
That weekend the track ran out of premium gasoline well ahead of the announcement and almost ran out the next weekend. Now the track has sold the fuel for nearly a year and every time Gulf calls him for a reference he is happy to speak in glowing terms about the ethanol-free EPA-approved premium gasoline.
The track also reports brisk sales from outside the track as many boats and ATV’s can be seen filling with the fuel.
So here is another case when Gulf sees a more expensive product with better sales than a less expensive traditional product. When I ask the track manager if anyone has asked about the price, he just laughs and says not a one. If you would like a proposal from Gulf then please go to our Become a Gulf Dealer link and enter your information.