Price War at the Gas Pump

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

A war broke out in Rochelle today. A war where customers benefit from the conflict. It was an old fashioned--gas war... at the new fashioned prices.

"Now that they see what's going on here..hopefully they'll drop prices someplace else," says Steve Koenig, a Grand Prix customer.

We are always looking to save a few cents at the pump, and for hundreds of folks in Rochelle, they hit the jackpot today. The Grand Prix station at the intersection of Routes 251 and 38 dropped its price to 2-69 a gallon at about 11 a.M.

This is 40 cents less than most area competitors. Those competitors say such low prices can cause owners to come up short-changed.

"If we keep doing that sure it's good for the customer and sure you can see my lot is full too, but the truth is we're not making anything. We're actually losing 25 cents on every gallon we sell," says Clark Gas Station Owner Dave Ghuman.

This driver says he's "pumped" about cheaper gas. It cost him five dollars less than usual.

"They aint losing nothing, look at all the people out here. They aint losing nothing look at all of the gas stations empty cause of this place," Koenig says.

$2.79 is the lowest price Clark owners say they'll go. In order to make any money at all, they need to get customers in the store.

Employees at Grand Prix say they're doing fine relying on profits from pop and candy. They say they'll keep their prices low for as long as they can.

Grand Prix Assistant Store Manager Sam Baupel says, "It's what my superior feels what they can lose at this point in hopes of gaining more in the future."

The Illinois Marketers Petroleum Association says customers shouldn't get too excited over cheap gas stemming from a gas war... the battle is usually short-lived. Operators can't stand the money-losing proposition for very long.

There are some misconceptions about gas wars. It is "legal" in Illinois for gas stations to set prices at any price... even if it means earning zero profits.
In the state of Illinois -- the average cost of regular unleaded gas stands at $3.19 but here in Rockford -- the average price is $3.11.


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