Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kwik-Fill's buy American ads...

We're a bit out of the normal range for Kwik Fill service stations that service Pittsburgh, Rochester, etc., but their recent "Buy American Made Gas" campaign raised flags on my deceptive advertising meter.

The ad is simple enough - American consumers taking a stand. Buy American made gas and by inference stop supporting foreign providers of petroleum. It sounds nice and may play well in Peoria, but I'm afraid the company is probably playing a little loose with the facts.

1) United Refining Company, Kwik Fill's parent company, definitely sells gas made in America (refined into gas in Warren County, PA). The problem with that statement is that by default almost all gas sold in America is "American made". There is very little gasoline imported into the US. Most petroleum products are shipped as crude that is refined -- or "made" if you will -- into gasoline on American soil. In 2004, it was estimated that less than 10% of all gasoline sold domestically was imported as gasoline or put another way, 90% of gas sold in America is American made. This is kind of like asking us to buy American coal or American corn. There aren't a lot of other alternatives.

2) For all of the talk of buying American made gas, Kwik Fill conveniently forgets to mention that the oil they use to make their gas is not American, but rather Canadian. Again, this is not uncommon as Canada is our largest supplier of crude. However, the implication that by buying "American made" gas, you are buying American oil is a false one.

I'll say that I've only seen these ads once and before spending 15 minutes researching info online I'd never given Kwik Fill a second thought. It's clearly a clever ad and I commend them on doing something that most companies do - get their oil from Canada and refine into gas in the US - and marketing it as some sort of competitive advantage.

However, I prefer the truth to clever marketing any day of the week.



Nikki said...

That is a very tricky advertisement. However, I wonder what proportion of the people seeing the ad will actually believe that there is something different about Kwik-Fill's gas compared to that of the competitors. I always just assumed that most of the gas in this country came from the same place... Either way, though, buying American is a good thing. If you want to know more about the "buy American" movement, check out, they have a great blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much - I have hunted high and low to figure out where the oil is actually coming from. On their gas pumps they say "Buy American Gas - 100% North American Crude". So while the ad is accurate - it is not exactly "honest". Unfortunately most Americans only see the word America and miss the "North" part of the advertisement.
Their propaganda ploy worked very well around here. I know lots of people who will only go to a Kwik Fill/Red Apple Store just because the advertisement (and yes I was one of them).
To be honest the only reason I did question the source of oil was the fact that every time OPEC raised the price per barrel - the price at the Kwik Fill pump went up too. I thought to myself – “why does the price of OUR gas go up when OPEC raises the price per barrel for THEIR oil, they have no control over OUR oil prices”.
Now I know.
Gary – Apalachin, NY

Anonymous said...

I don't care where the gas comes from. the fact that the kwik-fill buys the gas from Warren Pa.
so my money goes to help pay the bills for an employee in warren or erie or some other pennsylvania person. The Sunocco gas is purchases down in Arkansa somewhere.
and who knows where the country fair gas is bought from, but it doesn't arrive in a truck with pa plates.

Anonymous said...

Just when did they move Canada out of America? I gladly buy anything made in North America. Much better than something made in China and certain other counrties! And there is nothing wrong with buying from United Refining. It is a good company who supports employees from Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

Anonymous said...

I still doesn't explain why their gas cost as much as gas made from overseas oil. AS far as I know Canada is not in turm"oil".

Anonymous said...

The price of oil no longer has much of a connection to supply & demand, turmoil, or any other real situation. It's based on the fears, beliefs & opinions of people who speculate on the price of oil. Kwik Fill couldn't give you cheaper gas at the moment even if they wanted to. The crude they're buying is priced in a way that's beyond their control. This should be illegal, but it's not. A few years ago, just ONE MAN pushed the price of crude over $100 due to a futures trade he placed. He was a nobody. If you had enough money, you could do the same.

Anonymous said...

as told by the kwikfill refinery, they buy oil from Canada and Canada charges what OPEC charges per...that is why their oil runs up and down as with that bought over in the sand. Now I live in PA and my local gas is $379 per gal. I can travel 4 miles in Ohio and buy gas for $340 per..Taxes per gallon in Pa is one reason it is so high at the pump and our local gov can cut a few pennies off a gallon if spur the economy..I think cost of gasoline was one reason for our economy crash..other than that bank and bail out things.

Anonymous said...

Wow I found somebody who really knows what is going on ! Illegal is a fact . Capitalism at its worst . Ck gasoline prices since the last merger . The fix is in .

Marisa Whitaker said...

Where did you get your information on this? Just curious, not saying you're wrong. My "deceptive advertising" radar went off, too.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure all gas isn't the same. The last place I'll buy gas here in the Northeast is Kwik Fill. I just don't get good mileage from their gas.

I had to drive about 220 pretty flat miles pulling an enclosed empty trailer with my small SUV. I filled up with regular (10% Ethanol) at the local Kwik Fill on the way out of town. Arriving at my final exit I was on fumes and had less than a gallon left in the tank. I filled up there as soon as I got off the highway (again 10% Ethanol but not a Kwik Fill), drove to a motel, drove to dinner, and then back to the motel.

The next morning drove to breakfast then another 10 miles and loaded the trailer with about 1,200 pounds of books. I then turned around and drove home the same route. When I got home I had almost a quarter tank of gas left in spite of being 1,200 pounds heavier and there was no wind to speak of in either direction.

Kwik Fill is the closest station to my house and I had thought I was filling up a lot there in recent months but a quarter tank is a pretty big difference.