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Don’t get mad at the local gas station owner, says a report in Sunday’s Washington Post. Despite record-high prices for gasoline, local station owners are being squeezed by the demands of their suppliers, higher rents and high credit card fees. One station owner interviewed by the Post said that when she complained to Exxon Mobile about her financial situation, the company told her to leave the keys when she walked out the door.
The number of gas stations has dropped in the past 30 years, from 223,118 outlets in 1977 to 164,292 last year. The irony is that as the oil companies reap record profits, the local dealer is struggling to survive.
The supplier soaks up all the increase, according to dealers interviewed by the Post. “If I had raised my gas, within a couple of days, almost inevitably, they would have raised my wholesale price. It’s an unspoken rule,” one dealer said.