Innovation That Matters

Prepaid card locks in gas prices


Today’s high gas prices are already forcing changes in the way many consumers live, but it’s a pretty safe bet they won’t look so bad in a year or two. A new service from lets consumers prepurchase gas and lock in today’s gas prices for the future. Consumers who sign up for a MyGallons Card begin by paying an annual membership fee of USD 29.95. Up to three cards can be linked to one account, and the membership fee is backed by a 100 percent money-back guarantee if the consumer doesn’t save money on at least one redemption during the year. Members can then monitor their current MyGallons price—a fluctuating quote that’s good for purchase of unleaded gas at a particular point in time, including estimated local taxes—and prepurchase gas when they deem the price worth locking in. Purchasing gas is simply a matter of visiting a participating gas station, where the MyGallons Card is accepted much like a debit card, complete with four-digit PIN. The number of gallons pumped is deducted from the consumer’s MyGallons account balance, with adjustments automatically made for more expensive grades or types of fuel and price differences caused by tax discrepancies or other local variations. If the consumer pumps fuel from a filling station for less than the lower end of the MyGallons range on that day, he or she will receive a credit, in gallons, to his or her account. More than 80 percent of the prepurchase money consumers spend through MyGallons is placed in an escrow account and invested in money markets and US government-backed notes; the remainder is used for financial transactions to accommodate gasoline price changes, MyGallons says. There are no time limits on using the prepurchased gas, so consumers can save it for as long as they want, provided they maintain their MyGallons membership. After a pilot program beginning in April, just recently underwent a public launch. Due to an unexpected, last-minute pull-out by US Bank, it is in the process of negotiating with other payment networks to allow the MyGallons Card to be accepted at most stations in the US that already accept credit cards. Nevertheless, the service promises to be a taste of what’s to come. Spotted by: Ozgur Alaz



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