Archive for Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lower gas costs in Topeka chalked up to price wars

Per gallon rate in capital city below state average

Kyle Griggs, of Lawrence, pumps gas while talking to his friend, Bione Dudley, of St. Louis, at the BP gas station at 23rd and Louisiana streets.

Kyle Griggs, of Lawrence, pumps gas while talking to his friend, Bione Dudley, of St. Louis, at the BP gas station at 23rd and Louisiana streets.

July 28, 2007


An unusual gap has developed between gas prices in Lawrence and Topeka this week.

Prices in Topeka are well below the state average and Lawrence's are remaining steady.

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report listed the average gas price in Lawrence on Friday at $2.98 per gallon - almost exactly the state average. Topeka's average was $2.86.

But prices in Topeka on Friday went as low as $2.69, while Lawrence prices were around $2.90 and above.

"That's a pretty good-sized difference for two communities that close to each other," said Jim Hanni, executive vice president for AAA Kansas.

Hanni noticed the difference between Lawrence and Topeka prices earlier this week. A month ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, both cities' prices were right around $2.95.

Marvin Speers, president of Topeka gasoline wholesaler Capital City Oil, chalked up the price difference to price wars between Topeka gas stations. He guessed that many Topeka stations were selling gas at below cost.

"Probably some knucklehead in Topeka dropped the price below where it should be," Speers said. "That's probably the short answer. We're the only industry that's stupid enough to put the price out there in 2-foot-high numbers."

Speers said wholesale gasoline prices went up about 2 to 3 cents Friday night, and he predicted the Lawrence-Topeka price discrepancy might be over by sometime today.

Scott Zaremba, owner of seven Zarco 66 gas stations in Lawrence and Olathe, said price wars could be triggered when large, corporate-owned chains lower gas prices to attract customers into their convenience stores.

"You have to stay competitive with whatever the market price is in your area, even if it means you lose money," Zaremba said. "People will go a long way for just a penny or two."

Bryan Hunter of Lawrence filled up Friday afternoon at the Star Foodmart station at 501 W. Ninth St., where regular-grade gas was $2.95 per gallon.

Hunter said he could make little sense of the price difference between Lawrence and Topeka, or of gas prices in general. But he said he noticed that Lawrence prices tended to change in unison.

"It's always kind of suspicious when everyone in town changes all at the same time," Hunter said.

Speers said stations often used copycat techniques to determine gas prices.

"They think that they're going to gain a big advantage by dropping the price," he said. "But the other guy's going to follow just as soon as he gets his ladder out."


yankeelady 10 years, 9 months ago

The absolute worst is Manhattan---poor K Staters, not only stuck in aggieville, but exorbitant gas prices to boot

David Mora Marín 10 years, 9 months ago

We were visiting Lawrence and left last week. We started in Lawrence and drove for 3 days to North Carolina - crossed 8 states - and Lawrence was THE most expensive place to get gas.

KsTwister 10 years, 9 months ago

It's about time. take a trip west.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps George and his war for oil pals from the industry should have gone the so called american way and bought the rights for a pipeline instead of choosing expensive violent force?

You would think that George Bush "MBA" would understand that his choice for war only increases the cost of living. Also leaving many many dead bodies and disabled for life humans behind further escalates our cost of living for at least another 50 years. What about diplomacy?

lunacydetector 10 years, 9 months ago

Tonganoxie was $2.86 per gallon a few days ago. what's up with that? Lawrence was over $3.00 as was the b e a u t i f u l city of (bring 'em a prison museum for former prisoner tourists nancy boyda) leavenworth.

jonas 10 years, 9 months ago

But really, can people of faith believe in just price wars?

penguin 10 years, 9 months ago

when I came home to visit my parents in Hays the gas was always more expensive, but now that has somehow flipped. The gas stations here just went to 2.80 in town (However the stations right next to the interstate are still charging 2.98 a gallon).

Also not all stations seem to advertise their price. The Valerio station off of exit 159 on I-70 never advertises their price on their board. At the same time, I always wonder how they stay in business because I sure would never fill up just off I-70 without seeing the price first.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 9 months ago

I was in Chicago recently, and noticed differences in gas prices of as much as 12 cents within a block of each other, and a 32-cent difference between the Loop and the Oak Park suburb, less than 10 miles away.

I'm not driving to Topeka for gas, though--I would spend more to drive there and back than I would save....

compmd 10 years, 9 months ago

Wilbur, while I was in the north suburbs of Chicago a couple weeks ago, gas was 4.25 for 92 octane at a Mobil station. I was disgusted.

cooonrod, when diesel goes above 2.76/gal, it is cheaper to buy pure vegetable oil in bulk from Sam's Club. If you have an indirect injection engine, its the way to go.

jmadison 10 years, 9 months ago

What happened to the 3.30 plus price until the fall that the AP predicted due to the shutdown of the Coffeyville refinery?

Stephen Prue 10 years, 9 months ago

hold still it won't hurt long.... nonconsentual price gouging the american way

Brian Conrad 10 years, 9 months ago

and diesel prices went up 20@ a gallon the same day gas went down 15@ on friday gas was 3.19 and diesel 2.99 same station by friday evening diesel 3.19 up 20@ while gas down to 2.98 20@ drop?????????

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