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Sunday, July 09, 2017

Are we being unjustly fleeced by local gas peddlers throughout Delmarva?

By Thornton Crowe

Well, folks, it seems that in spite of crude oil trading at substantially lower rates, local gas distributors have once again, spiked the price -- probably under the guise of, "It's summer, let's fleece the tourists!"

Is it getting to the point where this gouging needs to be reported to some higher agency?

Sure I understand our proximity to Ocean City makes us more susceptible to higher pricing; however, should we really be paying over $0.25 more than the Midwest region where $1.90 per gallon is found throughout states like Texas, Oklahoma and even non-metro parts of Virginia?

It's gotten so bad at some points where some have told me they travel to Virginia to fill up because the price difference is stunning enough to warrant the drive! All I can do is shake my head in disgust!


Watching the oil market is one of my geeky pastimes. In watching the crude pricing fluctuate daily, it becomes apparent something is just not right with our local pricing. And please, don't give me a bunch of rubbish about summer vs. winter grades -- we're well into summer grade pricing so the initial sticker shock is long over. Other states have their summer grades brew, too, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than anything we've got going on around here!

There's a remarkable relationship between crude pricing and our local gas prices because they're almost non-correlative, with the exception of when oil goes up by a half-point, our pricing sky rockets here on the Shore.

If you think about it, that's a pretty steep price variance and hardly warranted.


Overnight in Salisbury, we went from $2.01 per gallon to $2.15 per gallon for regular unleaded Ethanol (bad corn gas), and crude closed -1.11 with a (-2.31%), real non gas is still hovering around $2.80 per gallon at the local pumps around Salisbury. So what's with the hike?

What's local gas distributors' justification for gouging of $0.14+? If this isn't being fleeced without cause, what is?

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yea the price always goes up for the weekend

Anonymous said...

Gas prices are ridiculous around here especially when you can go to VA for cheaper gas. It is worth the drive no doubt.

Anonymous said...

I just drove to Dover from Salisbury this Thursday, and the lowest price was $2.189 with most at $2.199. I'd like to find $2.14 or less!

Anonymous said...

847 Sam's Club in Salisbury was $2.09 yesterday in the afternoon. Today it's probably $2.30.

Anonymous said...

For some reason Delaware is always higher than MD. Doesn't make sense other than the taxes being through the roof in one versus the other. They should just open up the reserves here in the US and call it a day. We should've been energy independent a long time ago but tree hugging Birkenstock crowds don't give a hoot about what their nonsense costs everyone else.

Anonymous said...

TC Hilarious how you put ethanol bad corn gas! We were sold a bag of crap goods on that farce. Ethanol is horrible and it does damage to engines making the cars not last as long. I'd love to get real gas again but it's too d&&m expensive.

Anonymous said...

8:52 AM You have to define "cost". When big oil has contaminated all our waterways, what is that "cost". You can thank those Birkenstock tree huggers later for saving your water, wildlife, oceans, and sea life.

Anonymous said...

Wish we could find the gas prices seen on the pumps in your picture, Crowe. Those were the days. Hell, I remember when gas was under a dollar and when we saw it over a dollar everyone had a coronary. We really took it all for granted.

Anonymous said...

857 just what did they save? Have you seen the Bay lately? Wicomico River right here in da Bury? They haven't done anything of real substance, just a lot of hooping and hollering. You can't call big mouths running protecting anything.

Anonymous said...

Buy. A. Prius.

Jim said...


People who sell gas are in business to make money. They are retailers and can sell it for whatever they choose to charge. Competition will generally have some effect, but they also silently collude and level the prices in a general region. The price is generally whatever the market will bear, and they do raise it a bit prior to heavy travel periods like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving. They are there to make money.

Taxes also have an impact on the price, but one big one is transportation costs-- if you have to truck the gas into an area like Delmarva, it does cost more. That is added to the price.

Anonymous said...

You get better gas mileage with any car if you use the real gas.

Anonymous said...

Oil could go to $20 a barrel and gas wont drop below $1.80 because of state and federal gas taxes.

Anonymous said...

8:57, Yeah, BP saved the Gulf of Mexico waters, if I remember correctly. I think they did it for six months or so.

JoeAlbero said...

9:00, We have 2 Prius' and I have to be completely honest, it's our go to vehicle. If fact, I'm seriously considering taking my Prius and converting it into a pickup truck, seriously.

As for the gas prices, it's one of those items everyone must have. It's a government tax drug and the higher the price, the more taxes they get. I highly doubt anyone will ever get any support to lower the price because it is our government officials who are the worst addicts.

Anonymous said...

1.73 south carolina

Anonymous said...

Agree with joe for once

Anonymous said...

Heaven forbid we pay for roads

Anonymous said...

10:11. If they actually used the funds to fix the roads I would agree with you but they constantly raid the transportation fund for other "priorities "

Not fooled....Bob Aswell said...

If you live on the Eastern Shore as I do but travel,you'll realize how the gas game is played. Yesterday light sweet crude trading closed at $44.73 a barrel. All week there had been a effort by traders to get the price BACK up to $50.00 a barrel. It didn't work! Yet, the local distributors went from $2.059 to a $.10 increase to make up for trading and merchandising losses in the prior week. I mean 'YOU' Cato and other distributors on Delmarva. Case in point, I traveled to Norfolk, Va. yesterday and regular gas was $2.019 and places had it for $199.09. These guys don't know when they get to Hell there'll be a special place for them and lawyers and politicians.
Rightly so. Not fooled....Bob Aswell

Anonymous said...

Check the ridiculous gasoline tax rates from Annapolis.

Concerned Retiree said...

Why does all of MD have to pay for gas tax increases 90% of the road taxes goes to the Baltimore Annapolis DC areas for building new roads public transportation and light rail. We get no benefit from these projects. They want this convenient mode of travel then they should pay for it and not by raising my taxes without any benefit. In the 70's gas crisis there were limits on how much could be charged for a gallon. Companies could make 10 cent per gallon distributor could make 8 cents per gallon and the stations were allowed 4 cents per gallon. Also the prices could not be raised until the same quantity of the last delivery was used. Now they jack up the cost as soon as they get a delivery. These limits were Federal law. why is it any different now?

Anonymous said...

It's was just 1.99 at Sam's Last Week. Up here in New York it's 2.25

Anonymous said...

You think that doing their job should send them to hell? They don't set prices and you used another state and city, with a much larger port, as an apples to oranges comparison. People like you scare those with common sense.

Anonymous said...

That's because 90% of Maryland's population live there. Next!

Anonymous said...

Bob, if your not fooled you know it is not Cato setting the standard. They are just being competitive to stay relavant. Royal Farms and Wawa match each other, they drive the price up or down. They love when it goes down because that is when they make their money. You might think that is not true but here is how it works. The price per barrel goes up so they go up, sometimes higher than needed. If Wawa does it first Royal Farms is right behind them. It can work either way. Their margins are lower as the price is going up per barrel. Ok if you are following along here is how they make the margins. When the barrel price goes down they are very slow to come down, they hesitate to go too low too fast because their margins are larger now as the barrel price already has dropped. Once they hit as low as they will go they just sit there and compete for pennies. When there is any reason in the world to go up they will.
If you don't believe this, watch how slow it goes back down.
Sams club doesn't play with them that's why there can be a large gap between them. Cato just follows along, as do the smaller ones. You will see the small ones almost always a penny cheaper than the big boys, this is due to they siphon off what they can at a lower margin just to stay alive.

Anonymous said...

There is no competition among the gasoline companies.
This is called Monopoly Capitalism.

First one moves the price up, then the others follow.

I suggest locally that you give Royal Farm a try with their rewards card.
Simply link the card to your debit card and save 10 cents per gallon through a rebate on your debit card invoice.
It is a great reward system.

I also use it for drinks and get every 7th drink free.
Royal Farm is the go-to store for the Eastern Shore!

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed also that Wawa and Royal Farm are always the cheapest gasoline? Interesting. They don't have one of the big brands telling them how to price the gas. I hate Exxon stores in particular because of that big brand name. Wawa gas is just as good and always cheaper. Plus they have a great store for food and drinks. Love Wawa coffee too!

Anonymous said...

The local exxon are not as good as they used to be.
The employees used to be so friendly and happy.
Now they just look overworked. Probably trying to make them do to much work in a short time span.

I love wawa for the coffee. They give you real milk in a real cooler. Not the stupid fake milk dispenser you see in the cheap stores. I love the royal farms too because they have great chicken strips. three strips and bbq sauce, yummy. Didn't know about the rewards at farm stores yet. I need to check it out so thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

Exxon is always the highest prices because the big corporation makes a ton of money. Your best bet is at Sam Club or Wawa. I have noticed the Exxon up north of town has some good deals on beer. They are beating cheers pretty bad with prices and cheers has been my store for a long time. still the best selection though.

Anonymous said...

What does beer have to do with gasoline prices?
Geez

Let' stay on topic folks.
Exxon and Shell have been gouging for so long its not even funny. Thats why we have Wawa filling the void. Wawa gas came out of nowhere and they have to sell far more than either exxon or Shell. And i personally think it is a great thing too. The Wawa is remodeling and people are still packing in there for gas. that says a lot about loyalty for that store. The new gas poles look cool and I can't wait to get back in there for the coffee. Looking forward to seeing it reopen. Does anyone know when?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of gas and RotyalFarms . . . I hear again that they are planning to build in place of Plaza Tapatia near the college. I know the Mexican restraint still says it isn't happening, but does anyone know the truth? Royal Farm is getting a beer license lined up for Plaza's spot so I believe it might be true this time.

Unknown said...

It's called greed. Oil wells replenish themselves on the occasions they run "dry". There is an infinite amount of crude in the earth. The output is controlled by the oil producing nations. When they pump too much, the price goes down. Not enough, the price goes up.

Remember not too long ago we had a glut of crude in the market? That was done to make another method of producing energy too expensive and they would shelve it. I forget exactly which one it was now, shale? Fracking? Whichever one it was it worked.

Oil producers do not want the competition. And the powers that be don't want any currency used as "petrodollars" except the American dollar. That is why they had to get rid of Saddam and Ghadaffi. They were in the process of getting rid of the dollar and using another form of currency.

All of it is a racket and we are being bled dry by the oil companies, banks, and governments all over the world.

There are much more fuel efficient vehicles that could be used instead of the ones we are provided with and have been available for a very long time. And entirely new energy systems altogether that could replace oil and gas which would be cheaper and more eco-friendly but they will never be introduced. Too much wealth would be lost.

Just look at electric vehicles. That is not new technology but it has been sabotaged and held back from production and improvements for the same reasons. Heck, there is even technology now that allows for vehicles to run on WATER. Do you think that will be on any showroom floor anytime soon?

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between Exxon and Sunoco / Texaco gas. They all come from the same storage tank at CATO INC.. Have been for several years. Believe it started in the 80's when Mike Abercrombie, CATO INC, bought the EXXON franchise on VA Eastern Shore. Why is there a price difference?

Anonymous said...

Gas ⛽️ prices are too high which drives all the other prices up. If gas went down you'd see a lot of other pricing would follow suit. Problem is states have gotten addicted to gouging taxes! That's how they can afford the pricey nuance suits against the federal government whenever they have their liberal temper tantrums. i.e. The travel ban fiasco which is costing taxpayers in MD a fortune to fight against something that's constitutionally sound. Wake up people, time to get the legislators back in line with what they're supposed to do instead of doing their own thing at our expense.

Zorro said...

We should form our own State and keep our money here.

Anonymous said...

3:53 PM & 5:26 PM Cato may have always provided the gas, but now they own the stores, too. So the Gordy Exxon employees may have been happy, but now they're not happy Cato employees. Funny you noticed. Cato better figure out how to make them the happy employees they once were. A bit of advice - Listen to the good ones and reward them not only with wages, so they are friendly and happy again. Listen to what they want. Businesses forget - It is not always about the money; the people matter. People first, and the money will come.

Anonymous said...

Prices gas Yes! The story starts will Bill in 1994. See, then the Internet was dial up 56k_ modems ! They ( you know who !) Had trouble with The Software for Bill. 1995 apple not ms compatible, it was upgraded in 1999 just in Time for Y2k. Yes ! Hear this, They wanted Iraq To Saddam no Bush ( Wi-Fi 2003 = invasion) now Obama's too easy. 2008 software Facebook coupled to His fiber optics . His implant sent out ultralow frequency waves, making week minds vote for him. 2012, rise of machines HE knows Bill knows Bush knew ! They will Never stop.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance leads to many of these comments. The Eastern shore has always been one of the most competitive fuel markets on the East Coast where the retailers rarely make a notable profit on gasoline. Add to that Americas love for credit cards/debit cards which said stores must pay .05-.06 cents to the processor for each gallon charged when gas is $2.00 per gallon. True the WaWa, Royal farm folks often play the penny game because they're content to break even on gas and make that 600% margin on the coffee you're bragging about loving. Stores make more on that one cup of coffee, or bottled water, than they do off the 15 gallons of gas you just bought. Do we ignore the news out of Annapolis where MD gas taxes just went up again, and are scheduled to keep going up yearly? Some states mentioned are actually profiting much more per gallon than Maryland and selling fuels for less because their state taxes are far lower. It's easily to google "state gasoline taxes" and see where our fine state ranks (https://taxfoundation.org/state-gasoline-tax-rates-2017/) and you'll see where good old Maryland is at least .10 higher than it's bordering states and D.C. Lets also not forget when, I believe it was Glendenning, enacted a MD law making it illegal to sell gasoline for less than they last paid for it. This was too prevent the big boys like Sams from coming into a market, like they've done elsewhere, and selling gasoline as much as .25 less than they paid for it until all the little guys were forced to close up shop. Then research those areas and see what "the good guys" are selling for when they have no competition. Because of this smaller stores aren't allowed to "drop" with the big guys immediately, instead they have to wait until they can fit another delivery to lower the price. Another thing you have to add into the mix is the differential between NY Harbor "Crude" and Gulf Coast "Crude". When you're looking to relate local pump prices to "Crude" you should find out which market your state is driven by. I believe Maryland is on the line for New York and Virginia below is based off Gulf Coast. Add that difference in pricing to the already inflated per gallon state tax (.10+) and the Eastern Shore is truly fighting for pennies regardless if it's Sams, WaWa, Royal Farms or the other places mentioned. The rest of the differences like Exxon VS WaWa, that'll fall on whether you believe in the additives Shell, Exxon, and the other major brands promote. You don't get those in the gas at the non branded stores but their shelves are full of the $3 little additives you can pour into your 12 gallon tank.

Anonymous said...

July 9, 2017 at 7:36 AM

Wow, a short story disguised as a comment. I wonder what it said.

Anonymous said...

I've always heard people say that our prices were higher because the gas trucks have to travel farther to get here. We're not as close to the refineries as the cheaper areas. I'm not sure if that really factors into it anymore or not.

Anonymous said...

Too many big words for you 7:36?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Too many big words for you 7:36?

July 9, 2017 at 9:21 AM

lmao and yet another one who can't insult or call people names. oh wait, I bet it's the same mo mo jumping from one thread to another and not making sense on either one. lol

wow. it's like shooting fish in a barrel this morning lol

Anonymous said...

I've never seen Sam's more than .25 less than other stations in Salisbury. In fact most the time they are only 1or 2 cents less or on occasion more.

Anonymous said...

When I grew up, in NJ it was illegal for a station to raise prices in between deliveries. A price was set for the gas they had on hand. No games no gauging. Thats how it shoyld still be.

Anonymous said...

Just bought gas in Northern Va. $1.91

Anonymous said...

I personally avoid the Exxons and Shells out of principle.
Most of my friends do too. We shop at Royal Farm or Wawa because they have nicer stores and better coffee. I now am using Royal Farms loyalty and linked it to my debit account so I save 10 cents on every gallon. I also get free drinks every now and then plus you can get free chicken. I still go to Wawa when Im in delmar because they have the best coffee. They are always busy with gas so I believe most people here buy from Wawa. I think it is the older people who still buy from Shell and Exon. They are used to it I guess.

Anonymous said...

I think it is the older people who still buy from Shell and Exon. They are used to it I guess.

July 9, 2017 at 11:24 AM

I am older and I buy from Wawa including their coffee. I used to go to RF on Snow Hill Rd but their clientele changed and I didn't want to associate with that type of people. Plus their coffee is not as good and I sometimes get coffee grounds in my cup and mouth. Also the Wawa on the "S" curve I try to avoid because of their clientele is less than desirable as well as the location.

I do not like their parking lots though. People come in and out too fast and you almost get run over by those numbskulls.

Anonymous said...

12:00
I'm with you and love Wawa. Have for a long time. Excellent coffee every single time and they give you REAL milk to add. They took the time to invest in the milk coolers right next to the coffee and that makes a huge difference for me and my wife. We don't want fake milk dispensed from a machine with a nozzle.

I disagree about the Royal Farm though. I still like them a lot as well and love their chicken strips, boneless. Royal Farm is also a Maryland Company and I like that as well.

Anonymous said...

I have read all of the comment and it looks like to me that the people prefer Wawa, Royal Farm, and Sams Club for gasoline prices.
Surprise, Surprise, the big name brand gas companies are losers!

Anonymous said...

I disagree about the Royal Farm though. I still like them a lot as well and love their chicken strips, boneless. Royal Farm is also a Maryland Company and I like that as well.

July 9, 2017 at 5:42 PM

That's fine if you disagree. They do have good food as in their chicken. But I still maintain Wawa's coffee is better. I still go to some RF's if a Wawa is not nearby but the last time I did I had coffee grounds in my cup and mouth. Things happen and it probably isn't a common occurrence, or at least one would hope not.

And I don't care if they put gold doors on the Wawa at the "S" curve, I will continue to avoid that one especially at night.