Hialeah

Drivers took a detour in Hialeah to get cheap gas. It was 99 cents a gallon

Cars lined up outside a Marathon gas station in Hialeah for hours Wednesday. It looked like a hurricane was about to hit South Florida.

Except, there was no storm heading our way. Drivers just craved the cheap fuel — 99 cents per gallon cheap.

The gas station’s prices temporarily plunged from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of a UniVista back-to-school celebration. The insurance company was also celebrating its 10-year anniversary and the launch of UniVista TV. The discounted gas had a 10 gallon limit per vehicle and was on a first-come, first-served basis.

A UniVista spokesman said the company pumped 2,300 gallons for 300 customers.

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Cars lined up outside a Marathon in Hialeah to purchase gasoline at a discounted rate of $0.99 per gallon on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. MATIAS J. OCNER mocner@miamiherald.com

This is the second time the insurance company dangled cheap gas in recent months. This time was at 1598 West 68th St. In June, UniVista did a similar promotion on Southwest Eighth Street in West Miami-Dade.

Would you line up for cheap gas? Here’s why drivers on Wednesday did:

1. If it’s cheap, I’ll take it

Desi Cuevas was the first customer in line to get gas Wednesday. He said he arrived more than two hours before the cheap fuel started to flow, around 8:30 a.m., to make sure he could fuel up.

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Desi Cuevas was the first customer in line to get gas Wednesday during UniVista’s 99 cent per gallon special at a Marathon gas station in Hialeah. He arrived more than two hours before the event started to make sure he could fuel up. Michelle Marchante

“Everything free is happiness,” he said. In this case, it almost was.

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Drivers, like Desi Cuevas, went inside the Marathon gas station Wednesday to pay with cash and credit card during UniVista’s 99 cent gas celebration.

Gasbuddy listed the average price of gas in Miami-Dade at $2.46 a gallon as of Wednesday afternoon, compared to the 99-cent special some drivers said they haven’t seen in years.

This is the second time this year Cuevas came to a UniVista cheap gas event. He also went to the one they hosted in June by Southwest 87th Avenue and Eighth Street.

“Tiene que aprovechar,” he said. You have to take advantage.

2. I have bills to pay

Ricardo Rodriguez, an Uber driver, said a full tank of gas will usually last a day, maybe two. He was working when he happened to hear about the special. Turning off the app, he drove right over and got in line.

He said he doesn’t earn much driving for Uber. Even though waiting for gas took him off duty, he thinks getting cheap gas is worth more than driving customers around.

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Ricardo Rodriguez, an Uber driver, said he was working when he heard about the 99 cent gas. Turning off the app, he drove right over and got in line, he said. Michelle Marchante

Liset Martinez, a few cars behind Rodriguez, also was happy to be saving money. She said she got in line around 9:30 a.m. instead of going to Walmart for errands.

“It’s cheap, girl. I have bills to pay,” she said.

3. I’m on a budget

Alejandra Fuentes, a college student who came back to South Florida to visit family, said she saw a tweet from South Florida social media news personality Joel Franco — and came rushing over.

Her Nissan Rogue typically needs around $25 for a full tank, but with this 99-cent special, she can almost fill up her SUV.

“It’s great for a college budget,” Fuentes said.

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Mario Guttierez, an employee at UniVista Insurance, helps customers as they arrive to a Marathon in Hialeah to purchase gasoline at a discounted rate of $0.99 per gallon on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. MATIAS J. OCNER mocner@miamiherald.com

Lilliana Zambrano, who is retired, said she has an SUV that swallows $30 of gas at a time. She arrived at the gas station later than she would have like but said the line was moving along fairly quickly. She’s also happy with the service.

When she arrived at the pump, she didn’t even have to get out of the car. UniVista representatives filled the tank for her just like those old days of full service.

“How amicable,” she said.

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM
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