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August 2008 Archives: Same Gas, Different Prices, What Gives?



A Few Thoughts

published August 7, 2008

By Rich Luongo

There's really a lot more to the high price of gas than we've been told. The price is based on speculation, on corporate profit margins, and so on, we're led to believe. But have you noticed how prices fluctuate from station-to-station and not by different brands, either? Check out the same brands in different locations and you can see a price difference of about 15 cents a gallon.

For instance I saw a station down the White Horse Pike with regular selling for $3.61 a gallon but that same brand of gas at another station closer to this area was $3.77. What gives? It's the same company, same gas, same distributor, same formula but there was a 16 cents difference in price. Why?

Stations in Cherry Hill/Voorhees are still selling regular gasoline close to the $4 mark but once out of that area, the price drops considerably.

Of course it will. Cherry Hill/Voorhees residents are loaded, or so gasoline companies think, so let's gouge them for as much as we can. They have money and they'll spend it on gas for their SUVs and Hummers, whatever the cost. And, unfortunately, the companies are often right.

But who's making these pump prices, the individual dealers (probably not because most of these stations are company-owned) or the corporations themselves? Where there is a lot of competition the prices tend to be relatively lower but in well-to-do areas, even with competition, prices remain high. Again, it's an example of the public be damned, we'll milk them for as much as we can for as long as we can.

And it works and we, as lemmings, go with the flow and give these multi-billion-dollar corporations anything they want. Don't blame the high-price of gas solely on the Arabs…the greedy, profit-hungry oil companies can take much of the blame.

Irony of irony: the State of New Jersey has been urging motorists to drive less and take alternate transportation. It worked. Reportedly motorists in New Jersey drove 10 billion miles less this May than last May and, as a result, the state was shorted $3 million in gasoline taxes. What's the old saying: damned if you are and damned if you're not…?

And speaking of taxes. We know we pay the state taxes on each gallon we buy. But who imposed that 9/10 of a cent tax on each gallon? You're not paying $3.65 a gallon, you're paying $3.65 and 9/10, or $3.66 a gallon. Why don't they simply round out the price instead of using that inane and antiquated system? Since we're already paying taxes on each gallon, what is the purpose of that 9/10 of a cent? And who gets it? Does anybody get it? Or is it just a quaint way of pricing gasoline?

This whole gasoline pricing system is a fiasco. Let's do something about it along with dropping the price of gas.

The author is a former editor of the Haddon Herald, a feature editor for The Collingswood Retrospect. He was also adjunct teacher at Camden County College. Presently he is a freelance writer for a number of newspapers in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area,including

Mr. Luongo passed away in 2015 at the age of 72