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Monday, April 24, 2017

Gas prices in Columbia

     Occasionally a topic strikes a cord on Next Door Neighbor with many replies to a post.   This week that topic was why the gas prices in Columbia are so much higher than in surrounding areas.  Are we being gouged in Columbia because of our high median income?  What are the factors that are reflected in the price of gas?  State taxes are part of the issue as anyone who buys gas in another state. Last week I noticed a 20 cent drop in the price when I drove to Harpers Ferry and went from Maryland to Virginia with gas stations only a mile apart in the different states.   Of course this doesn't explain the difference between the prices in Columbia and Laurel.  There is something called zone pricing that wholesalers charge dealers.  Wholesalers undoubtedly factor income into this zone pricing and that could have a significant impact on pricing in Columbia.   Retailers in Columbia may have to pay more than retailers in Laurel.   Finally like everything else competition impacts price.  In Columbia you will never see two stations across the street from each other as happens in many other towns.  So blame the planners of Columbia for restricting the number and location of gas stations that lessens competitive pricing of gas.

     A few people who posted mentioned that they only buy gas at Costco or when they are out of town.  A few others mentioned buying a fuel efficient car and not worrying about the price as much.  It has always made me wonder when you see someone who buys a large SUV and then go to Costco to save money to fuel their gas guzzling vehicle.  Ever notice that most of the time these gas guzzlers only have one person, the driver, in the vehicle.



Anonymous said...

The three gas stations on 103 across from Long Gate Shopping Center are always .20 cheaper than Columbia.

TeamDandy said...

Perhaps the people you see with large vehicles are fueling up specifically when they don't have a carload of kids/people (their own or others, as in a carpool) because that's when it's easier to fill up.