Bastille Day lessons
This week's drive around the auto blog

It's a grocery store gas, gas, gas

Not to be too crass, but we all know that certain foods can cause gastric distress. Well, my local grocery chain wants to give customers free gas.

Let me clarify: free gasoline.

Fuelbuckslogo_small_1 San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Grocery Co. has launched Fuel Buck$, a program that gives customers $5 to use toward gasoline for every $25 purchase of select HEB and its Central Market-branded products. The vouchers can be redeemed at any HEB gas station.

There are a couple of restrictions.

Although goods with the Central Market label qualify, you only get the gasoline rebate if you buy them in a regular HEB, not one of the grocer's upscale stores.

Also, only specific items qualify. If you have an HEB near you, you can check out this gasoline-eligible grocery list before you head to the store. When you are wandering the aisles, you also should find signage and special product tags touting the program.

And the $25 must be spent in a single shopping trip. You can't buy eligible brands totaling $10 on Tuesday and go back and pick up another $15 worth of HEB or Central Market items on Thursday to reach the gas voucher mark.

The Fuel Buck$ program began July 7 and is scheduled to run through the end of the summer.

The grocer also is cross-marketing the program. When you redeem Fuel Buck$, you'll receive a coupon for HEB branded items.

I'm curious to see whether Randalls, another local grocery chain now owned by Safeway and which also has its own gasoline stations and related discount program tied to store purchases, adds more fuel to the refueling fight.

Sack_of_groceries_foto_2_1 Just remember, though, that while the gas certificates are appealing, if you didn't plan to buy the qualifying products in the first place, then don't spend your money just to get, at current pump prices, less than two gallons of gas. That's the hope of all coupon issuers, that you'll spend money you otherwise wouldn't under the guise of saving money.

Don't fall for it. Buying items you didn't intend to is not saving you anything. It's costing you. As long as you recognize that and shop carefully, then promotions like Fuel Buck$ might be worthwhile.

As for me, I just love grocery shopping anyway. Now for the new few weeks it'll be even more fun, a game of sorts, perusing the shelves to see if an HEB or CM brand matches up, and compares favorably price-wise, with items on my weekly shopping list.

Hopefully, I'll be able to save a bit, whether I'm paying to fill up the hubby and me or our cars.


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Thanks, JD, for going there in my stead!

JD Flanagan

There are just so many opportunities for juvenile humor involving the name of the grocery store and the free product that it is hard to resist.

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