Here's why gas prices can vary

May 27, 2011

I am one of the owners of Ray Adolph's Citgo on York Road in Lutherville. Earlier this week, our station was mentioned in an editorial ("A dime's worth of difference," May 23) for having gasoline prices more than 10 cents higher than neighboring stations. While that was accurate, I would like to enlighten the general public as to what occurred that week.

On May 9, our station was posting a competitive price for fuel. But looking ahead, I saw on my supplier's web site that the cost of fuel was going to be 10 cents per gallon higher on Tuesday and 20 cents by Wednesday. Guess when we needed to purchase a load of fuel? Bingo. Mid-day Wednesday was when the "liquid gold" was dropped in to my tanks, and that was 20 cents per gallon higher then my previous purchase.

I had not only purchased the gas at the highest price for the week, but I found out later it was the peak price for the day. By 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, the price had already dropped 6 cents. By Friday, it had dropped an additional 7 cents, or 13 cents in all since I bought gas. I called my salesman and he made a 10-cent adjustment on what I had just purchased. However, at the time of this writing (May 26), the cost has dropped 35 cents per gallon since I purchased it. Even with the 10-cent credit, I am still the highest price in the neighborhood.

Our Citgo not only sells fuel but has nine service bays for general auto repairs. Consumers assume that since our gas price is so high that we will be gouging people for service work. One has no bearing on the other. Up until this recent roller coaster ride in fuel pricing, we would be as competitive as we could with selling a gallon of gas. Our service prices are very competitive.

But here I am still sitting on over 2,000 gallons of regular unleaded. If the current downward trend continues in fuel pricing, it may be some time before we are once again on a level playing field. Thanks for allowing me to vent my frustration and at the same time clear the air.

Brian K. Adolph, Lutherville

The writer is president of Ray Adolph's Citgo.

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