BANGOR, Maine — The owners of Union Street Citgo signed up for a promotion funded by a conservative political action committee to provide 150 customers with gas at $1.84 a gallon. On Wednesday, drivers eager to save a buck got into a line that stretched for half a mile.
“It is completely nonpolitical,” gas station owner Sarah Wardwell said as she washed a customer’s windshield. “It’s a chance to offer our customers a great price on gas.”
The gas price rollback was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity-Maine, a chapter of the conservative political action committee composed of activists “who advocate and promote limited government, lower taxes and more freedom,” the chapter’s website states.
The group said the reduced price per gallon paid by customers in Bangor on Wednesday is what residents paid for gas when President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
“Here in Maine, President Obama’s failing green energy policies have us counting every penny and putting America deeper into debt,” Carol Weston, Maine state director for the group, said in a statement posted on the website. “That’s why we’re offering reduced price gas this Wednesday, to help and give a voice to the countless Mainers who oppose the policies of this administration.”
In 2008, gas prices in the U.S. topped $4 a gallon — with the peak in July 2008 of $4.11 a gallon — but dropped dramatically to a national average of $2.40 a gallon on Election Day and to about $1.84 when Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, according to Consumer Reports.
Three of the 150 people who got gas on Wednesday — Bangor residents Janice Martinez, Joelle Milliken and Jay Stanhope — were thrilled to take advantage of the low-price offer. All three were driving by and noticed the red illuminated sign that read $1.84.
“I’m stoked,” said Martinez, who waited about an hour to fill up. “I would have waited five hours.”
“We were going to my house, which is right over there and saw the line,” Milliken said. “We thought, ‘What is this line for?’ Then we saw the price.”
Stanhope’s big Chevy truck typically costs $70 to fill and he spends about $30 a day running it for his job, he said.
“This is bigger than most states,” he joked about his gas-guzzler.
On Wednesday, he and everyone else in line got 15 gallons of gasoline for $27.74.
“They’re saving $30 on 15 gallons,” said Wardwell. “People work week to week, so saving $30 is huge.”
Because customers’ cars were snaked down the side of Union Street, past the city pool, police officers stopped by the gas station to see how long the promotion would last, Wardwell said. It started at noon and ended just before 3 p.m.
The 150 local Union Street Citgo customers saved a bundle.
“They saved about $3,500,” said Nate Wardwell, a co-owner of the gas station.
The current price for gas is just shy of $3.80 a gallon, he said.