US gas station brands: Consumer preferences and motivations
May 31st, 2023, Janice Fernandes

US gas station brands: Consumer preferences and motivations

Gas prices in the US have experienced fluctuations over the past year, but the current cost is lower compared to a year ago. However, prices are poised to increase again due to the rise in oil prices.

As Americans may again have to adapt to higher gas prices, we delve into YouGov data to examine the fuel choices made by consumers who own petrol or diesel cars and the underlying reasons behind their decisions.

When it comes to the brands people fuel up their gas-powered or diesel car with, Shell emerges as the most popular choice, accounting for 15% of consumers who have refueled vehicles at their stations in their last ten visits.

Following closely behind are ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron, each with a share of one in nine consumers (11%). Costco gasoline holds a 10% share, while Kroger, Sam's Club, Speedway, and Murphy USA each capture an 8% share. Lastly, American Gas accounts for 6% of the visits.

Analyzing the data on consumers' motivations for frequenting specific petrol station brands reveals several factors. 

Low prices on fuel proves to be a significant driving factor for consumers. Nearly three-quarters of consumers who frequent Sam’s Club (73%), Murphy USA (72%) and Costco gasoline (71%) prefer the brands for the low prices offered. Slightly fewer but still half the consumers visiting BP (52%), Kroger gasoline (57%) and Speedway (59%) go for the cheaper gas.

Additionally, convenience and location play crucial roles, with Shell (54%), ExxonMobil (52%), and Chevron (43%) customers preferring gas stations close to their home or along their regular routes.

Nearly half of consumers (49%) who choose to refuel at American Gas do so because they perceive the brand to offer high-quality fuel, making it the most significant factor driving consumers to choose this brand. Chevron (43%) and Shell (36%) also score well in meeting consumers' expectations for fuel quality.

On average more than two in five consumers say they like the fast and efficient process at their favored gas stations – Sam’s Club (41%), Speedway (48%), ExxonMobil (45%). Costco gasoline is the only exception where the easy in and out is not as valued (36%). Similarly, brand preference and trust also register an average of one-third of consumers, with Chevron (35%), BP (35%), and Shell (38%) managing to instil confidence in their customers, reflecting the impact of their brand reputation. 

Rewards through loyalty programs are a motivating factor for over two in five Kroger gasoline (42%) consumers and 37% of American Gas consumers. However, consumers who frequent other gas retailers are not as likely to pick a brand based on loyalty incentives.

Certain aspects have comparatively less influence on consumer decisions. Station facilities, convenience stores on-site, and discount vouchers have relatively lower significance. While these factors contribute to the overall experience, they are not as decisive in consumers' choice of petrol stations. Understanding these motivations allows brands to tailor their offerings and enhance their value proposition to attract and retain customers effectively. 

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the United States is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles

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