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November 20, 2005

When you're bitter about high prices at the pump, don't blame the station owner.

I never knew the numbers, but I figured this out years ago. I mean, why else would gas stations start sellikng food, drinks, toys, medicines, and fast food? If selling gasoline itself was so profitable, they would have stuck with it.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:22 AM


I'm not sure gas stations have ever sold just gasoline. The tendency of sales managers to see people's presence as an opportunity to sell more, even irrelevant stuff, is a powerful force. It's why there's candy in supermarket check-out lines and why there's advertising at baseball stadiums. Once you're there, they're counting on your attention wandering and impulses taking over.

There are a few stores -- the big warehouse operations -- for whom gasoline really is a kind of "loss leader" but if gas stations are counting on their convenience store operations to stay afloat, they've been subsidizing me for years...

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at November 20, 2005 03:08 PM

Yes, I know that. Even as I posted that, I thought to myself that I shouldn't hang the story on such a flimsy hook.

Posted by: Anne at November 21, 2005 09:19 AM

In Florida the owners of convenience stores and independent gas stations make 10 cents on a gallon, rather than a percentage of the price. Their income from gasoline sales is dependent on the number of gallons sold, not the price paid.

They are hurting from the lack of availability caused by the hurricanes, and the reduced consumption caused by the higher prices.

Posted by: Bryan at November 21, 2005 11:07 PM