In an effort to woo the gasoline-grieved masses, Walmart is offering a 90-day Rollback, which will give drivers 10 cents off per gallon at participating Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations.
The offer, which will be available at stations in 18 states, is only good for those using a reloadable Walmart gift card, Walmart MoneyCard or Walmart credit card, and is scheduled to run through the end of September.
Not only is the move likely to boost usage of those financial products, it's also bound to strike a chord for families struggling to pull together summer travel plans. The Automobile Association of America recently predicted that the number of people traveling more than 50 miles from home for the Fourth of July weekend, for example, will decline 2.5% to 39 million.
With prices roughly a dollar higher this year than last, AAA says there is "a shift in the demographics of the typical Independence Day traveler as higher prices impact lower-income households more significantly." As a result, it says, the percentage of travelers with a household income of $50,000 or less is expected to decrease from 41% to 33%, while travelers with a household income of more than $100,000 are expected to increase to 35% from 26%.
And it is those lower-income shoppers who are most likely to use Walmart's financial products, marketed to low-income and "unbanked" families.
"Our customers have told us that high gas prices are a top budget concern, nearly as large an expense to their households as food and groceries," says Stephen Quinn, Walmart's CMO, in a release. "We listen to our customers, and because we know they are feeling squeezed by gas prices, we're implementing this gas Rollback to help them save, especially during high travel summer months."
AAA's survey found that 56% of those planning to travel for the holiday said fuel prices had no impact on their plans, while 44% said they did. Seven out of 10 of those say they're cutting back in other areas; 30% are either taking a shorter trip or finding a different way to travel.