July 09, 2020

Gas under $1 for one day at South Portland station

SOUTH PORTLAND — Motorists irritated by rising gasoline prices got a one-day respite at B.D. and Sarah Stearns’ Getty station, where regular unleaded was on sale at 99 cents a gallon.

As word got out about the daylong promotion Monday, cars lined up at the pumps. Some drivers said they planned to return home and come back in a second car.

“I had to drive by here three times today before I could get into the waiting line,” said Christina Morin, a South Portland resident who filled her van. “I told my husband, but he won’t come because he’s not a waiter. Me, I’ll do anything for a good deal.”

The Stearnses opened the doors on their Getty station three months ago, just before the surge in gasoline prices. The couple hit on the idea of a one-day, 99-cent gasoline sale as a promotional device for their new station and a nice way to introduce themselves to potential customers.

With a $12 limit on each car, the Stearnses expected to pump 12,000 gallons of gasoline into more than 1,000 cars.

They estimated the reduced price would cost them about $1,200 in all. “But it’s worth it. Everybody’s looking pretty happy,” Sarah Stearns said as she directed cars into the station.

Prices at the Stearnses’ pumps returned to normal Tuesday — $1.26 a gallon for regular at the full-service pump, which is roughly equal to what stations throughout the region are charging.

The Stearnses believe the sale earned them plenty of goodwill, and they intend to do it again.

“I don’t know exactly when,” said Sarah Stearns. “But I bet we end up doing this again even just because it’s been so much fun.”

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