Where The Gas Gouging Buck Stops

Local gas station owners are hurt as much or more than consumers by high gas prices, as they lose business when gas companies force them to raise their prices.
May 29, 2006, 7am PDT | David Gest
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"While motorists complain about getting gouged to fuel the oil companies' record profits, Lalli and other dealers say Sunoco is gouging them too, by inflating the wholesale price of gas. Even though he's only about a mile from Sunoco's gasoline terminal at 26th Street and Passyunk Avenue, he's paying up to 30 cents a gallon more for gas than the dealers or company-owned outlets in Northeast Philly or Reading. That's because Sunoco simply thinks folks in South Philly will pay it. However, just two blocks from Lalli, a Getty dealer at 21st and Oregon has been selling gas for about 20 cents a gallon less. With that competitive disadvantage, who can blame folks for cruising by Lalli's to line up for the better price?

The Getty dealer gets his fuel from an independent distributor who is paying close to the lowest wholesale price, which last week beat Sunoco's price to Lalli by about 23 cents a gallon. While other dealers could buy gas for as low as $2.799 wholesale a week ago, Lalli -- forced to buy from Sunoco -- was being charged $3.029 a gallon."

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Published on Thursday, May 25, 2006 in Philadelphia City Paper
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