Why gas prices can vary wildly between different stations

A station in Youngstown was selling for $1.79 per gallon Thursday; one closer to Struthers, for $1.46. What gives?

youngstown struthers ohio gas prices vary

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – You might have noticed driving down a busy road that the gas prices from one station to the next can be a lot different.

Last week, the wholesale price of gasoline jumped significantly, prompting prices to increase across the board. AAA reported that the national average was $1.71 per gallon.

“Refineries were losing money by refining oil, so some refineries in the Midwest said that due to that situation, they were going to produce less gasoline, and based on that news, market prices started increasing very quickly,” Gasbuddy.com Senior Analyst Patrick Dehann said.

Prices at gas stations close to each other can vary greatly. On Midlothian Blvd. in Youngstown, one gas station was selling fuel for $1.79 per gallon. Down the road close to Struthers, though, another station was selling it for $1.46.

“Some areas may not refuel their tanks or may not watch the wholesale price of gasoline as carefully, but some stations watch it and monitor it every hour and they may adjust their prices quicker,” Dehann said.

On top of market demands, though, state taxing has a large influence on station prices.

If you’re in Ohio, you’ll see lower prices, because they have among the lowest fuel tax in the region. Pennsylvania, however, has the highest fuel tax in the country.

“Talking about going over state lines, it’s important to know that Pennsyvalnia has the highest gasoline taxes in the country, even higher than California,” Dehann said. “Any station in Pennsylvania is going to see a much higher price.”

The U.S. Energy and Information Administration forecasts that the national average for all of 2016 will be under $2, about 25 cents cheaper than last year.

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