Minnesota is a beautiful state famous for its picturesque lakes, vibrant cities and tight-knit communities. With its gorgeous beauty, it gives residents and travelers a mix of urban sophistication and rural charm. However, when exploring the many different parts of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it is essential to manage the cost of gasoline, especially if you are planning to go long distances. In this article, we will talk about the top eight towns in Minnesota that have the most budget-friendly gasoline options. We will also tell you what affects gasoline prices in the state, giving you insights to make cost-effective choices in the North Star State.
1. Benson – Shell
Regular Gas Price: $3.12 per gallon at Shell.
Benson, nestled in west-central Minnesota, is a small town known by its strong sense of community. Therefore, in Benson, you’ll find locally-owned fuel branches of Shell’s gas stations that go above and beyond to serve the local community. This means that they not only provide cheap gas, but also provide excellent, hospitable services. Thus, their commitment towards friendliness often translates into competitive prices that are highly appreciated by the town’s residents.
Furthermore, Benson’s picturesque rural setting plays a pivotal role in keeping distribution costs down. The affordability of doing business in this peaceful rural community ultimately results in even more cost savings for its residents.
2. Stacy – Casey’s
Regular Gas Price: $3.18 per gallon at Casey’s.
Stacy, which is located in east-central Minnesota, is a peaceful town surrounded by the natural beauty of the region. But Stacy also benefits from the competitive pricing of Casey’s, a well-known chain that strategically positions itself in smaller towns. Their presence and pricing strategy therefore contribute significantly to the affordability of gasoline in this town.
Therefore, Stacy’s location in a less urbanized area can lead to lower overhead costs for local businesses, which, in turn, allows the gas stations to offer gasoline at more budget-friendly rates.
3. Wyoming – Casey’s
Regular Gas Price: $3.18 per gallon at Casey’s.
Wyoming, a northern suburb of the Twin Cities, combines suburban convenience with rural charm. Surprisingly, Wyoming’s proximity to the bustling Twin Cities doesn’t translate into higher fuel prices. Thanks to the presence of budget-friendly chains like Casey’s, like in Stacy, residents in this community can continue to enjoy low gas prices.
Wyoming also has a tight-knit community that values and supports locally-owned businesses. This really helps the town keep prices low.
4. Columbus – Love’s Travel Stop
Regular Gas Price: $3.19 per gallon at Love’s Travel Stop.
Columbus is a steadily growing community in the northern part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Love’s Travel Stop, a well-established nationwide chain, is known for having competitive prices, and is located particularly along major highways and travel corridors. This makes it an excellent option for both residents and travelers.
As Columbus expands, businesses like Love’s Travel Stop provide affordable fuel options to residents and commuters. Their competitive pricing is a reflection of the growing opportunities in this community.
5. Forest Lake – Kwik Trip
Regular Gas Price: $3.19 per gallon at Kwik Trip.
Forest Lake, nestled north of the Twin Cities, is famous for its beautiful lake and abundant recreational opportunities. Regional convenience store chain Kwik Trip has the most competitive fuel prices in this town, which is a blessing for communities like Forest Lake. The chain’s ability to provide affordable gas to residents also contributes significantly to the town’s overall cost-effectiveness.
Forest Lake’s location in a suburban-rural area, where the cost of living is generally lower, also helps keep gas prices affordable for local residents.
6. St. Cloud – Costco
Regular Gas Price: $3.19 per gallon at Costco.
St. Cloud is a vibrant city situated in central Minnesota, and is famous for its education and healthcare institutions. Luckily, Costco’s unique membership-based model provides members with bulk buying power that often also translates to lower gasoline prices. It is a strategy by Costco that consistently benefits residents in towns like St. Cloud.
St. Cloud has a diverse population, which in turn, contributes to a competitive fuel market, giving residents access to affordable options.
7. Sartell – Sam’s Club
Regular Gas Price: $3.19 per gallon at Sam’s Club.
Sartell, a growing suburb of St. Cloud, is known for its family-friendly atmosphere. Sam’s Club, just like Costco, provides members with access to cost-effective fuel options. The membership savings model helps residents who want more budget friendly choices.
Sartell’s strong sense of community also encourages residents to support businesses like Sam’s Club, which helps maintain low gas prices.
8. Buffalo – Coborn’s Express
Regular Gas Price: $3.20 per gallon at Coborn’s Express.
Buffalo is a charming town in the western part of the Twin Cities metro area. Coborn’s Express, a regional grocery store chain, helps residents keep their costs low by providing cheap gasoline.
Businesses like Coborn’s Express that prioritize affordability often reflect a strong commitment to their community.
What Affects Gas Prices in Minnesota?
Gasoline prices in Minnesota, like elsewhere in the United States, are influenced by a complex set of factors. Here are the key factors affecting gas prices in Minnesota:
Crude Oil Prices
The most significant factor affecting gas prices is the cost of crude oil. Minnesota, like the rest of the country, is dependent on global oil markets. Any disruptions in the global oil supply, geopolitical events or changes in demand can lead to fluctuations in crude oil prices, which impacts gas prices.
Refining and Distribution Costs
Gasoline is not produced locally in Minnesota. But it is typically refined in large facilities in other regions of the country and transported to this state. Therefore, the cost of refining, transportation, and distribution can vary, affecting gas prices.
State and federal taxes are a significant component of gas prices. Minnesota has its own gasoline tax and the federal government imposes taxes as well. This means that any changes in tax rates can directly impact the cost of gasoline.
Gasoline formulations also change with the seasons to address environmental concerns. In the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates the use of cleaner-burning gasoline blends. These specialized blends can be more expensive to produce, leading to higher prices at the pump during the summer months.
Areas with more gas stations and competitive markets often have lower prices. This is because when several gas stations are in close proximity to one another, they may lower their prices to attract customers.
Membership-based retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club often offer lower gasoline prices to their members. Therefore the presence of these stores makes sure customers have the buying power to negotiate better fuel prices and have savings.
Local Economic Conditions
Economic factors, such as the health of the local economy and employment levels in the cities or state, can also impact gas prices. This is because stronger economies may lead to increased demands for gasoline as customers have more buying power, which can affect prices.
Natural Disasters and Events
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or floods, can disrupt oil production, refining, and transportation. When supply chains are disrupted, gas prices can spike.
International events, such as conflicts in oil-producing regions or changes in oil production agreements, can influence global oil supply and demand. Therefore, this can significantly change gas prices.
Consumer behavior can also impact gas prices. When gas prices rise, some consumers may reduce their driving or shift to more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Regulations and Environmental Standards
Compliance with environmental regulations and standards set by federal and state authorities can add costs to the production and distribution of gasoline.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jacob Boomsma/iStock via Getty Images
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