Gas Buyers Pick Brand Over Price

Costs Continue to Soar, but Consumers Shift Their Focus to Product Benefits From Ad Age By Jean Halliday Published: April 21, 2008 click to read more.     DETROIT (AdAge.com) — Even as gasoline prices creep close to $4 per gallon in some markets, consumers are increasingly choosing to buy based on brand benefits rather than price or location.      Shell viral: The oil company is attempting to reach younger drivers on the web.     According to NPD Group analyst David Portalatin, consumers in the past year have more often cited product performance as a reason to buy a given brand of gasoline. That marks a turnaround after a decade of decline, indicating that big oil’s branding pushes are beginning to pay off.      It’s “a little surprising,” said Mr. Portalatin, given the record prices. Indeed, the price of U.S. retail unleaded gasoline hit a record average of $3.32 a gallon in the first week of April, although the San Francisco Bay area was even higher at $3.71, according to the most recent information available from industry researcher Lundberg Survey.     Nationally, prices at the pump jumped nearly 53¢ per gallon compared with a year ago. But it appears consumers are deciding that if they have to pay more, they might as well go for quality.

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