BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting gas prices by 10 cents a gallon for three months to help consumers worried about their spending amid a sputtering economy and busy summer travel season.
"Our customers have told us that high gas prices are a top budget concern, nearly as large an expense to their households as food and groceries," Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn said in a statement.
Wal-Mart is well aware that rising gas prices and other household costs are squeezing shoppers' budgets, reporting at its annual shareholders meeting earlier this month that shoppers appear to be focusing on groceries and little else.
To help ease consumers' worries, the world's biggest retailer announced Wednesday that customers visiting participating Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations in 18 states through Sept. 30 will receive a discount on all fuel, gas and diesel purchases when they use a reloadable Walmart gift card, Walmart MoneyCard or a Walmart credit card.
Gas prices neared $4 a gallon in late April and early May, but have since fallen to a national average of $3.57 per gallon. Still, the government reported on Monday that Americans spent at the weakest pace in 20 months in May, a sign gas prices may be hurting the economic recovery.
Wal-Mart, which had fiscal 2011 sales of $419 billion, has 9,000 stores in 15 countries.