Here’s an innovative way to build a gasoline retail business model:
First Fuel Banks bills itself as the only gasoline retailer in the US where customers can buy gasoline for the future and hedge against rising prices. It advertises no service charge and no storage charge, just a $1 lifetime membership fee.
The program is open to anyone who drives off the street. Customers buy whatever amount they want at the current price — the most ever purchased in advance was $400,000 worth — then swipe a card and key in a PIN number when they draw from their reserve.
Chief executive Jim Feneis, who runs the company with his brother, Dan Feneis, said 300 of its members are still filling up with gas that cost them less than a buck a gallon as recently as 2002. Many more are locked in under $2.