High gas prices help grocers

By Lorne Fultonberg

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 1:57 AM EDT

Chenango, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) Maybe the only people who are happy about rising gas prices are grocers. Supermarkets are bringing in business with fuel rewards programs.

Weis Markets and Price Chopper both have free programs in which shoppers accumulate gas point for the food they buy. Customers can then trade in those points for discounts at the fuel pump.

"The bigger the family the more driving you do, the more groceries you buy, the more savings you can get," said David Stevens, co-manager at the Chenango Bridge Price Chopper. "And that's the thing, people can take care of their family, they can eat well, and they can save some money on gas. That's what it's all about."

For every $100 spent at Price Chopper, customers earn 10 cents off each gallon of gas at participating Sunoco gas stations. Discounts can be saved and combined throughout two month intervals. At Weis Markets, customers can earn 10 cents when they spend $50 in one calendar day.

"The gas rewards are an important part of the benefits for our Wise Club Members," said Mike Umstead, Weis Markets Southern Tier District Manager. "It really helps them to save for their families."

Price Chopper estimates it helps 200,000 customers each week with its rewards program. Umstead said Weis has saved its customers more than $50 million since the program was put in place four years ago.

Both Umstead and Stevens said the promotions have increased business at their respective companies.