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rants, San Francisco

Remember, It’s Not the Gas Station Owners Who are Bending You Over. Rather They are Joining You in Being Bent.

06.21.07 | 2 Comments

Everyone hates paying the ridiculously high price for a gallon of gasoline, even if it is less than they pay in other countries. I live in a city where the gas prices are among the highest in the state, in a state where the gas prices are among the highest in the country, in a country where the gas prices are the among the highest middle of the road/lowest in the world. While I don’t drive often and use public transport as often as I can, it’s easy to get frustrated when it seems like you have to sink your entire paycheck into your gas tank. But before you try to drag your local gas station attendant through the pay window and lay a beatdown of biblical proportions on their ass, stop and reflect.

The owners of your local Kwik-E-Mart are not responsible for the pinch. In fact they are victims of it to a much greater degree than you are. Owners of gas stations make virtually nothing from the sale of petroleum products alone. Think about it: How often do you see a gas station that sells only gas? Probably never. They almost always sell snacks and porn or do mechanical work and that’s where the real money comes in. The profit margin on a gallon of gas is next-to-nothing. The Freakonomics blog reports one local Shell station owner is fighting back against the company kamikaze-style. Like an enraged Viking Berserker, the owner doesn’t care if he drives himself out of business as long as he drags his opponent screaming down to hell with him. The owner bears the improbable and slightly hilarious name of Bob Oyster plans to fight back. He says

“that Shell and other big companies are squeezing service-station owners way too hard, and he plans to shut down his station soon anyway. “I’m going out with a bang,” he said. “And I don’t care if I don’t pump a gallon on the last day.”

His plan is to jack up the prices even higher than what the oil company sets for him in order to create negative branding when the people associate his inflated numbers with the shell logo.

Get ‘em, Oyster.

link (via Freakonomics)

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