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GF drivers gas up cheap - briefly

Imagine getting a $1.52-per-gallon discount when buying gasoline. Well, 209 drivers realized such a price break Wednesday afternoon at a first anniversary promotion at University Landing Strip Cenex station on the corner of University Avenue and ...

Cheap gas
Kyle Fiebiger, 12, carries a gas can past the line of vehicles waiting to fill their tanks with $0.97 gasoline Wednesday evening at Cenex. Fiebiger rushed over the the gas station on his bike to get gas for his lawn mower. The line of cars stretched around five blocks along University Avenue waiting for the cheaper fuel. Herald photo by Sarah Kolberg.

Imagine getting a $1.52-per-gallon discount when buying gasoline.

Well, 209 drivers realized such a price break Wednesday afternoon at a first anniversary promotion at University Landing Strip Cenex station on the corner of University Avenue and North Washington Street.

The price was 97.9 cents a gallon, a numerical homage to the promotional partner and voice, 97 KYCK country radio, which had a DJ-filled SUV on site.

Buyers eager for a deal waited inside vehicles lined up for five blocks and more at times during the 97 minute promotion that ended at 6 p.m., celebrating the first year of the gas station's new ownership.

Shem Mears and Casey Bruce pulled into a parking lot across University Avenue to wait for a way to get in line.

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They had seen the crowd, then the posted gas price.

"I said, '(darn), I want to join in this,'" Mears said.

According to general manager Denise Williams, during the discount period, the 209 lucky customers bought an average of 14 gallons each. The $1.52 discount -- from the standard price lately for regular gas in Grand Forks of $2.499 per gallon -- was good only for a maximum of 10 gallons.

It means her store "gave" a total of about $3,100 in discounts during the promotion, assuming about all the customers bought at least 10 gallons, Williams said.

Was it worth it?

"Definitely," she said. "Just the exposure."

Customers could not pay at the pump, but had to go inside the store for the purchase, which gave them a chance to see the remodeling job, she said.

A bevy of employees and relatives of employees helped direct traffic. Store Manager Bobbie Fleming had her husband, son and her brother all lending a hand.

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After the 6 p.m. deadline, the gas price increased to $2.399, a dime below the nearest competitor, Valley Dairy, which is across the intersection.

Williams said she ran a similar promotion a year ago.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com .

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