Why The Big Price Difference?

By: Chris Mossman
By: Chris Mossman

Why would the same chain sell gas in Washington for $2.66 per gallon yet set the price in their Greenville stores as high as $2.83 per gallon?

Why would the same chain sell gas in Washington for $2.66 per gallon yet the price in Greenville is as high as $2.83 per gallon?

I'm asking the question even though I know the answer.  It doesn't make the situation any less maddening though. 

We live in a free market economy so Duck Thru, Kangaroo, Sheetz, Hess-Wilco, Walmart, Handy Mart and all the other gasoline retailers have the ability to set their own prices.  God bless 'em and let's never take that ability away from them.  However, if they're willing to sell gas to people in Washington for $2.66 per gallon, is it ethical to charge Greenville residents an additional 17 cents per gallon for the exact same product? 

My sense is that it's up to you, the consumer, to decide.  If the stores that sell gas for $2.66 per gallon get significantly more business than those who charge $2.83, maybe they'll get the message and bring the price down.  Then again, maybe the price will come up in Washington. 

To answer my initial question, gas is currently cheaper in Washington because of free market competition.  When one station in an area lowers the price, usually all the stations in the area adjust their prices to become competitive with the price leader. 


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