Locals race to gas pump for $1.99/gallon sale

By Noel Lyn Smith
Navajo Times

TSE BONITO, N.M., Nov. 15, 2012

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The long line of vehicles stretching from here into Arizona along Highway 264 was an unusual sight Thursday morning.

Throughout the morning drivers waited to purchase unleaded fuel for $1.99 a gallon at Navajo Petroleum, a gas station owned by Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company.

It has been years since fuel was priced that low.

Parked at one of the gas pumps was Glenna Lee, originally from Rock Point, Ariz., who quickly entered her credit card then stood by her 2005 Chevrolet truck.

“It’s wonderful, it’s a break from the usual $3.64,” she said.

Despite working and living in Window Rock, Lee still spends $60 on fuel to cover the workweek commute.

“Ten gallons for $20,” she said after fueling then smiled at her receipt.

The event was celebrating the gas station’s transition from selling gasoline produced by Texaco to Navajo Petroleum.

The price was offered from 9 a.m. to noon and the purchase amount was limited to 10 gallons per customer and unleaded fuel only.

Drivers could purchase more fuel but they had to back in line for the additional purchase.

Throughout the morning the line of cars continued from the gas station entrance to the Arizona-New Mexico line, at one point the end was close to Bashas.

One of the first people in line was Lenora Dodge, of Nazlini, Ariz., who was on leave from her job to fuel her silver 2012 GMC Sierra.

“Gas is expensive now, even 10 gallons is worth it,” Dodge said then added that the roundtrip drive from work to home is 90 miles.

To save fuel, she sometimes rides the bus but drove to work today because of the event.

Taking advantage of the additional purchase was Boyd Reed, of Kayenta, Ariz., who hoped the second round would fill his black Nissan Titan, which normally fills on $90.

“It takes me back in times,” he said about the $1.99 pricing.

A mixture of cars, trucks and SUVs entered the gas station parking lot from the west then were directed to a fuel pump before exiting from the east.

Greg Hudson, NNOGC marketing and retail product specialist, directed customers into the parking lot and notified drivers about the purchasing rules.

“Unleaded gasoline, limit $20,” Hudson said to a customer.

Other team members shouted numbers to let Hudson know which pumps were available.

It seemed that nothing would stop people from taking advantage of the pricing, especially Margaret Mike, Abbie Wood, Terry John and Donte Bennett who pushed a 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser to the pump after it ran out of fuel near the Arizona-New Mexico line.

“Push, pull or tow,” Ernie Bennett shouted from the driver seat as he steered the vehicle.

“Thank god this car is light,” Mike said while pushing the vehicle into the parking lot then to the fuel pump.

Denise Thompson lives in Las Vegas and was visiting relatives in Window Rock when she decided to get in line.

“I didn’t think there would be this many people here,” she said. “I wish it was like that all the time. In Las Vegas, it’s about $4.”

On average Thompson spends about $40-$60 per week on fuel.

A Navajo, N.M. resident, who declined to give his name, received a text message about the event and smiled at the thought of low priced fuel.

“$1.99, you cannot beat that,” he said then drove away.

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