Costco versus and other gas brands

I learned MANY years ago that ANY business that depended on a huge price sign to attract customers is NOT the kind of business you want to be in…When Costco, Safeway and Kroger get in the gas business and start duking it out to see who can sell gasoline the cheapest, you might as well turn out the lights and go home…There are MUCH better ways to make a living…

Caddyman don’t understand your last comment. From what was previously said in this thread that gas is basicly the same no matter who sells it, why wouldn’t it make good business sense for a retailer to sell gas to their customers? We have a grocery store chain in SC that offers a 5 cent discount on gas at certain gas stations (Shell being one of them) for X amount spent on groceries plus an extra 10-20 cents off for buying cetain item. If I was going to purchase that item anyway why not take advatage of the discounted gas.

Unfortunately there are very few real “gas” or “service stations” around anymore, that make their living from gasoline sales & car repair. Now days everything is a mini-mart selling everything from apples to zippos…and yes we have gas too! I guess turn about by the grocers is fair play.


I think what Caddyman is saying is that once the HUGE retailers start using their leverage to buy HUGE volumes of gasoline at discounted rates, the average station owner is going to get priced out of the market in a hurry. No way you can compete in a price war when they can absorb even a loss at the gas pump in order to sell more highly profitable foodstuffs. The days of selling gas and gas alone are well past. Now the days of operating a small “convenience store” and selling gas are also coming to a close…

@TwinTurbo–I think the days of an independent convenience store and selling gasoline are long gone. My parents bought gas and picked up a few grocery items at an independently owned convenience store. The proprietor and his family had living quarters attached to the building. Two major oil companies did their best to squeeze him out by failing to tell him about price increases and the proprietor of the store was losing one or two cents a gallon. When the first company, Gulf, pulled that stunt twice, he told them to come, pump the gas out of the tank and pick up the pumps. He switched to Shell and Shell did the same thing. He then switched to Standard. About the same time, his wholesale grocery supplier charged him more than what a person could buy the item at a discount store My mother sent me up to buy a box of laundry detergent and the store owner sent me to the discount store because he said the price of a box of Tide was less there than what he had to pay for it. Forty six years ago, he sold the property to Marathon oil. Marathon knocked down the building and erected a new service station. A new owner had a busy garage repairing cars and selling gasoline. He operated two wreckers. Well, Marathon decided they wanted a convenience store there instead, so that owner and his shop were ousted, the building torn down and a convenience store which still sells Marathon put in its place. The convenience store is part of a chain where the original store was independently owned.
We had several other independently owned service stations in my area with very good mechanics. The oil companies became greedy and wanted a cut of the inside business as well as the lease payment and the profit on gasoline sales. The operators just told the companies to come get the gas pumps and no longer sell gasoline. Former Senator Birch Bayh argued more than 40 years ago that the big oil companies wanted to control everything from the wellhead to the pump. Well, it looks like they do.

 I won't say "no there's no difference."  Maybe there is!  It wouldn't be chain-wide, but there are two stations here (one chain gas station, and one grocery store station --  I won't bother naming names), the chain gas station would frequently bring about that "rotten egg smell", and the grocery store station has knocked out people's fuel gauges (high sulfur levels will damage the fuel level sender).  I suspect they get the gas from the bottom of the tanker truck so it has higher levels of contaminants than normal, but who knows?  Whatever the cause, fuel contamination does still exist.

 Nevertheless, the mechanics advice sounds like BS to me.  I don't think any station puts nothing in the gas, and even if they did that would not accelerate engine wear, it'd (possibly) allow deposits on the fuel injectors so a injector cleaning has to be run at some infrequent interval.  

 As for pricing... well, the gas stations here price fix, dozens of stations without so much as a penny in price variation for at least 20 miles. Get outside the price fixing zone and prices drop at least 10 cents (and actually vary a few cents from station to station.)

I agree with TwinTurbo all of our stations here are some sort of convenience store, We don’t have a food chain stations but 4 new Quik Trip stations have recently opened. all station sell gas at the same price with the exceptions being name brand stations which sell anywhere 3 to 10 cents more depending on the statio.

@Triedaq- I agree. I don’t pass a single independently owned station in my 35 miles commute in to work. In fact, the last one I knew about closed some 5 years ago when they had to dig up all their tanks and replace them. The convenience store types I’m referring to are affiliated with big gas companies. Even those guys are being squeezed by the grocery store chains here. I frequent the food store station even though I don’t have one of their cards. They are always around $0.10 less than anyone else, even without using their card.

“Integrated oil companies…” They own it all…The part YOU see as a consumer of Motor Fuel is the “Marketing” division. Oil companies don’t care if the marketing division makes any money or not…They HOPE the marketing division can break even…Exploration and Production and Refining, the other two divisions, is where they make their money. No price signs out on the street in those divisions…They NEED the marketing division to move the product into the retail market…

Mom & Pop C-stores and gas stations are DOOMED…Only in fringe markets can they survive…The Majors own the whole operation and they pay their counter help minimum wage…You can’t compete against that…

I disagree with that. Gasoline needs about as much advertising as the air we breathe. It’s ubiquitous and consumers are all about price. If there is no money in the retail part of gasoline, why take on the burden of supporting it? Apparently plenty of other businesses willing to take on that part have cropped up. It’s like saying the farmer needs to own the store to move his crops and the money is in working the field not retailing the end product.

Exploration is an expense and a huge one at that. So is building more refining plants. They have great incentive to maximize what they have already invested in just like the electric co that push conservation. Seems odd, a company that sells something asking you to conserve when the more you use, the greater their sales. But not if they have to add more infrastructure to support the increased demand. Much better to limit production and raise prices.

There is money to be made selling gasoline, but not for a small operator. A big operator can hire inexpensive help to work the cash register while he gets paid for owning dozens of stations. If one station nets $10,000 for the owner and he owns 30 stations, he’s making a great salary. The same cannot be said if he owns only one station.

From all the news stories that are aired down here station operators don’t make any money on selling gas they make their profit on the convenience side of the business.

Yup, I agree 100%.
These guys seem to like to try to sound knowledgeable to unwary customers and will create any line of BS to do so. I love it when they do it to me. I like to humiliate those who do. I figure they’ve probably BS’ed numerous innocent customers, so they deserve it.

In this particular case, I believe that the welcome should be withdrawn.

… says the person replying to a post from 7 years ago.



The format you are sending your post in requires scrolling 5 times the screen width to read.

And now we have somebody else replying to a post from 7 years ago…

Yes, I got hooked into an old post again. Why were you on it?

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You 1. replied to a very old thread, and b. disagreed with somebody who was exactly correct.


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Why was I “on it”?
Surely for the same reason that you were "on it’, namely that Mr. Riccobuono chose to resurrect it in order to insult a forum member, and as a result, this thread rose to the top of the list of recent posts.

Asterix, I, and you would not even be having this cyber conversation if Mr. Riccobuono had not chosen to bring a very old thread back from the dead for the express purpose of insulting someone who actually posted valid advice.


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