$1.99? Get in line! Six-hour DCU promotion saves drivers plenty.


Byline: Lisa D. Welsh

WORCESTER - Last summer, Christine and Tim Winters of Worcester didn't think twice about jumping in the car and taking their kids to Salisbury Beach, where Mr. Winters' mother lives, but they've yet to do that this year.

"We're not traveling long distances anymore," Mrs. Winters said. "I've been putting $30 in my tank every week and stop driving after it's gone. I go only as far as that will take me, but that doesn't even fill it up."

But yesterday, she was able to fill her Jeep Cherokee's tank for $26.46 at the Gulf Express gas station at Pleasant Street and Park Avenue, where a promotion by Digital Federal Credit Union lowered the cost of a gallon of regular gas from $3.97 to $1.99.

"That feels so much better," Mrs. Winters said. "I'd jump in the car and go visit my mother-in-law if I could come back and fill it up again at this price."

Providing that good feeling is what prompted the credit union to offer the promotion, similar to one it ran at the same gas station two years ago for 99 cents a gallon.

When yesterday's promotion ended around 1 p.m., 7,429 gallons of gas had been distributed at the discount price and DCU paid the Gulf station more than $14,000 to make up the balance. The cost was less than it would have been for a direct mail marketing campaign.

"We thought about the various advertising opportunities and decided this would make the biggest impact," said John P. LaHair, DCU public relations manager.

"Actions speak louder than words, and what better way to thank the Worcester community than with $1.99 a gallon," he said. "We know people are feeling the pinch and with the extra $40-$50 they might buy groceries, pay a bill and maybe decide to utilize one of the DCU's products."

Like Mrs. Winters, nearly 800 other drivers appreciated the discount enough to wait two hours in line. Before the station opened at 7 a.m., cars were lined along one lane of Pleasant Street and at its peak around 11:30 a.m., cars snaked down to Newton Square and along June Street to the intersection at Chandler Street.

Monday night, DCU members were alerted to the promotion by e-mail, but the public also participated.

Yesterday's event was successful enough for Mr. LaHair to say a similar promotion at another gas station would be held, but he did not say when that would be. In addition to the discounted gas, more than two...

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