Gas prices continued to rise throughout the past week just in time for the 4th of July. After reaching a new high of $145 Thursday afternoon, there are now some speculators predicting that a barrel of crude oil will cost $200 by the end of the year. Over the holiday weekend, many Americans opted to take “staycations” instead of traveling, relaxing at home due to the rising cost of road trips and flights.
Media is focused on how consumers can reduce their gas consumption. Many businesses are looking for ways that they can help their customers with high gas prices while also expanding business.
- Chrysler is offering to lock in customers’ gas prices at $2.99/gallon for 3 years when they buy or lease eligible cars through the end of July. For a car with a 15-gallon tank, a customer saves about $17 on each full tank of gas, when the average gas price is $4.10/gallon. This may seem like an expensive deal for Chrysler, but it’s an effective way to move cars off the lot when auto loan growth is stagnant. If your repossessed cars are hanging around the lot for too long, you may want to consider a similar incentive for your members. By customizing the program to fit your loans, the interest income should cover the gas expenditure.
- Electric lawn mowers are ideal for yards up to a third of an acre. They cost slightly more than gas lawn mowers but the energy required to recharge the batteries is significantly cheaper than gas and they don’t pollute! Offering financing options to people who want to be more eco-friendly could help bring in new business and reduce the overall gas consumption of your members.
- New technology allows members to reduce the number of visits they make to ATMs and tellers by conducting their business from home. Expanding your call center and online services by adding features like remote check deposit could save your members a great amount of money by eliminating many car rides to the credit union. Using BankServ’s green banking calculators, you can see how much money your members can save by using remote banking.
Many credit unions are already putting programs in place to lessen the effects of high gas prices on members and employees. By offering gas cards for using their services or discounted rates for green loans, credit unions are helping their members spend less at the pump. Credit unions are also subsidizing the use of public transportation and helping set up carpools to ensure their employees are able to cope with commuting costs. So far, credit unions have shown great initiative and innovation in helping out their members and employees.
If you are interested in learning more about how credit unions can reduce the impact of gas prices on members and employees, on July 9th, join me for a live discussion about strategies that are working so far.