Widely varying gasoline prices



I don’t know about gas prices in your area, but around here, gasoline prices vary widely. The gas station down the street from me sells unleaded gasoline for $4.41 per gallon. There’s a gas station about 9 miles away, that consistently sells gasoline at the lowest prices around, today the price was $4.18.

Now the Pontiac gets about 25 mpg. so it costs about $1.40 (1/3 gallon) to drive to Stratford. If I’ve got this right, I only have to buy about 6 gallons of gasoline at the lower price, to compensate for the distance I HAVE TO DRIVE to get to the cheaper gas station. Since I normally buy more like 20 gallons, I figure that it’s worth the trip!

Of course, I try to combine errands, so that I’m not making a special trip just to buy gasoline.

Have I got this right?


And your point is ?
The station owners set prices - if they want to charge more they can !
There’s a corner near me with three gas stations and the difference in price per gallon of regular runs about 25 cents ! Why ? Who knows !


I tend to agree, it is very confusing among stations and the price swings at the same stations appear to be nothing short of amazing. From Thurs nite to this morning, the price swing at one station near me was 14 cents. There can be a ten cent or more difference between the cheapest and most expensive station in my area. From Kansas side to the eastern part of Kansas City, MO can be 20 cents or more, on a given day. Folks around here routinely try go to the Missouri side, to get a large price difference, but even now that paradigm has changed. Our side of town usually has some of the most expensive gas, but now is some of the average priced to cheapest.

I use gasbuddies.com to help me decide where I should gas up when I go on trips now, because the potential price spread is so great, these days.


Yes, it sounds like you have gotten it correct.

There is a Shell station very close to my house that consistently charges about 15-20 cents per gallon more than the lower priced name-brand stations. As a result, in the dozen years that I have lived in this area, I have only bought gas from that station on…maybe 4 or 5 occasions.

Instead, I drive 7 miles to a Shell station that is the cheapest in the entire region. By waiting until I need at least 10 gallons, the total 14 mile drive pays for itself–but by a very small amount. The actual difference, once the extra gas is factored into the mix, is really very small.


Some of the difference is city taxes. You merely have to cross a city line to see a difference in gas prices. The rest has to do with stations being competitive in their area. In a great location, with lines often waiting for pumps, the owner would be quite wise to raise his prices as much as the market will bear. And the reverse is also true.

You are quite correct to buy your gas from Stratford whenever you can, postponing purchases until you must be in the area for additional purposes.


Supply chain and overhead help determine individual pricing. Sometimes, cheaper isn’t a good thing. For me the question is NOT why is station A more than station B, but , just what is wrong with station B gas that they would dump it for so much less ?


“For me the question is NOT why is station A more than station B, but , just what is wrong with station B gas that they would dump it for so much less ?”

And you own a high-priced gas station? ;’)

Gasoline in a geographic area comes from the same wholesaler. It’s pumped through a pipeline to a central depot and distributed to the gas stations nearby with tanker trucks. Are they putting water in it? Dp they want to go out of business next week? Actually, gas prices are often set to match the income in the area. Higher income areas have higher prices than lower income areas. It works that way in central MD. I stop at a station - an Exxon station (read high priced spread) - near work, and it’s 10 to 15 cents less than the lowest priced station near home. And every station near that Exxon has a similar price.