Jul. 21--The Lancaster Barnstormers are going to bat for fans facing higher costs for gas, joining other local businesses in trying to lure customers by offering incentives to pay high fuel costs.
     On Monday the Barnstormers announced plans to reduce the price of field box seats by $4 -- the average price of a gallon of gas in Lancaster County -- for all home games played Monday through Thursday through the end of August.
     Tickets during that period will cost $4 in advance of a game and $5 at the gate. The promotion covers one game this month and 10 games in August.
     "Gas prices are on everybody's mind," said Adam Aurand, the Barnstormers' director of marketing and public relations. "We figured we'd help out our fans who support us by basically paying for a gallon of the gas they use to come and see the team."
     Raffaele Kissoon, a sales associate with Hondru Dodge in Elizabethtown, said he has no doubt the special fuel promotion offered by the makers of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles has helped Hondru make sales the past two months.
     "Since the beginning of June, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep have offered customers a guaranteed price of $2.99 a gallon for gas or diesel fuel for three years, if they buy certain 2008 models. Right now, with gas prices at about $4 per gallon, it comes to an average savings of $2,200 over the three years," Kissoon said. "That's a pretty good discount and it can get even better if gas prices keep going up."
     Local grocery stores, such as Yoder's Country Market in New Holland and Shady Maple in East Earl, have followed a trend -- started in 2006 by Giant Food Stores -- which allows loyal customers to earn discounts on gas purchases by regularly buying their groceries at the markets.
     And, since the spring, the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau has joined with the Greater Lancaster Hotel and Motel Association to offer $25 gasoline cards to guests who spend two nights at participating hotels on selected nights. Guests who spend one night can get $10 gas cards.
     "In our message we are saying we understand gas costs are a problem, but if you stay with us, we'll get you home," said Chris Barrett, president of the visitors bureau.


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