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'Tanks-A-Lot' and other ploys to ease pump woes

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On Wednesday, gasoline hit another record price for the national average: $3.83 a gallon, according to GasPriceWatch.com, a Dayton, Ohio, firm that tracks prices. In California, the state average hit $3.95 a gallon on Monday, according to the Energy Information Administration. And at many gasoline stations across the United States, the price is already above $4 a gallon.

At the same time, crude-oil prices on the futures market went over $132 on Wednesday morning, another record.

Earlier this month, as gasoline prices rose, many hotels and lodges started seeing a downturn in bookings. That was the case at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The 220-room resort saw a week of falling numbers in advance bookings. "Even though it wasn't a trend, we decided to be proactive," says Pamela Shelley, director of sales and marketing.

In the Marina Inn's case, that means offering a 10-cent-a-mile rebate, through Labor Day, to any guest staying at least three nights. The credit is deducted from the final room bill, based on a MapQuest mileage calculation from the guest's originating address.

"Based on a three- to six-hour drive, the average rebate could be about $60, which is enough for an SUV to get here and back," says Ms. Shelley.

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