Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

How High Gas Prices Hurt Gas Stations

Kansas Explorer 3128 / Flickr

Historic photo of the Glidewell Service Station in Beaver, Okla.

Gas station owners might watch pump prices more than commuters.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. When prices are high outside convenience stores, sales drop inside.

Basically: Customers are using their money to fill their cars up, not to fuel themselves up with profitable snacks, sodas and heat lamp hot dogs.

Gas prices have jumped 13 cents in Tulsa, and hometown convenience king QuikTrip is feeling the pinch.

Customers only have so much money to spend, the company’s Mike Thornbrugh tells Public Radio Tulsa:

When prices go up, customers are less likely to buy a candy bar, chips or drink while at the check-out counter.

Generally, the next gas station is but a short drive away. High gas prices breed convenience store competition, and owners are forced to keep their fuel prices and profit margins as low as possible for as long as possible

Another complication: credit cards.

Swiping plastic instead of paying cash shrinks profit margins even more because credit cards come with heavy processing fees. And post-recession credit card use is on the rise.

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