There haven’t been too many times this year that you would see Andrea Ramos smiling as she pumped gas into her 2020 Jeep Sahara.
On August 1, however, the West Meadows resident and about 100 other people were grinning from ear to ear as they filled their vehicles with gas priced at just $2.38 a gallon.
The cheaper gas at the Flatwoods Marathon on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. was offered for one hour only by the Americans For Prosperity (AFP) as part of its “The True Cost of Washington” campaign.
Ramos (pictured above) said that it usually costs about $90 to fill up her Sahara. She had about a quarter of a tank when she got in line for an hour wait, and then spent $42.10 for 17.6 gallons to top off her tank.
“That’s cheap. I’ll take it any time I can get it, especially with this,” Ramos said, pointing at her Jeep, which she says gets just 14 miles to the gallon.
Jeeps, vans and pickup trucks were the most common vehicles filling their tanks. Brandon Azzolini saw the event advertised on Instagram in the morning and drove all the way from Riverview to fill his 2022 Jeep Gladiator Mojave. He used some of his $50 savings to buy a pizza at the Sbarro inside the gas station before heading back to work.
Michelle Saffor said she drove up from South Tampa in her 2017 Dodge Caravan to put $30 in her tank, getting 12.5 gallons worth.
“I ain’t seen 12 gallons in a loooong time,” Saffor said. “You can’t beat that these days.”
Brandon’s Taylor Solomon had one of the biggest trucks to show up, a big-wheeled 2015 Chevy Silverado. She filled it up, with 24 gallons for $58. “It usually costs me $120-$130 to fill up,” she said. “That’s a big hit, so it was worth the trip.”
Making a shorter trip was Wesley Chapel’s Michael Rogers, who found out about the cheaper gas that same morning. He decided to take his chances anyway.
Although the line at one point extended to the I-75 interchange, turned right at the 7-Eleven and wrapped past the Home Depot and Steak ‘n Shake, Rogers got in before it backed too far up.
“It was a great deal, so I didn’t want to miss it,” Rogers said. “When I got here (about an hour before the event), I realized I had a chance.
Rogers filled the tank of his Ford F-150 truck, which was 75 percent empty, for about $40. He said it usually costs him $110 to fill it.
Another Wesley Chapel resident, Amanda Harrison, put 19.9 gallons of gas in her 2021 Dodge Caravan for $47.71, saving about $63 from her usual $120 fillup.
“I was practically on ‘E,’” Harrison said. “So, I was committed once I was in line.”
Afterwards, the workers from AFP paid their bill inside. They managed to serve 101 vehicles in an hour, while turning away dozens of cars. Those lucky enough to get the discount paid a total of $3,241.56 to fill their tanks with 1,362 gallons of gas.
The Marathon station was charging $4.07 at the time of the fillup event, leaving AFP to pick up the $2,301.78 difference — the cost of spreading their message (along with a few free hats) about government waste.