POMONA, Calif. - We hear much about skyrocketing gas prices, but how about cheap gas prices?
The Gas Buddy app, which tracks per-gallon prices, has come up with a list and we decided to follow their guidance and see what we could find.
We start with a station that used to be a Union 76 in Glendale and head east. At the Glendale station at Pacific and Glenoaks, we met customers like Krissy Harb who was thrilled at the lower price there.
It was $3.99 per gallon if you pay cash; $4.29 if you use a credit card.
Says Krissy, "That’s why I come here... It’s crazy. It’s insane."
We had customers tell us prices are getting very expensive. Customer Mohammad Farooq told us, "where I’m coming from, it’s $4.30 or so."
Raffi Baglho and his brother Sam bought the station from Union 76 in January when the price per gallon was $4.45.
When we asked how they keep the price so low, he told us, "We became independent. We’re not forced by the majors who are dictating the price and everything. Once you’re independent, you have the choice to get different vendors. That’s how you keep the price low."
He says his business has increased 60% since lowering the price to $3.99. With that increase in business, he’s making money even though he’s charging less.
We then traveled east where in Pomona, we met Shanda Gulickson’s and her 5-week-old baby Isaiah at another independent station called Royal Express, which used to be a Valero.
Baby Isaiah couldn’t have cared less about gas prices, but his mom cared. She was saving her a few bucks. Shanda says her savings amounted to, "...Just about $4 total so not very much." But, she said it’s extra money that helps with the baby.
That station is in Pomona. In Temple City we found another station that used to be a Valero. It’s now called V Red. They’re charging $4.07 cash, $4.27 credit… not bad!
The big discount stations like Costco and Sam’s Club were offering lower prices as well.
Back at Royal Express, customer Kim Mitchell told us the $3.99 price was helpful to her budget.
Meanwhile, Manager Maggie Furlong added to the chorus of independent station managers we met.
She said being independent makes a big difference. Furlong said being able to have a choice of vendors makes all the difference.
It may be that bringing down the price is a win-win. This applies to customers like Vinnie Vega and Candice Carpenter and owners like Eddie Awada. We met them at VC Racing Fuel in Pomona where again the price is $3.99 per gallon, if you pay cash.
Carpenter told us, "I think that’s pretty great."
To Vega, "It’s pretty hot!"
Like other stations we’ve seen, the independents like this one are able to drop their prices because they don’t have corporate pressure to buy from their vendors and maintain certain prices.
Awada says he’s actually been dropping prices during the holidays the last four years. He sees it as a holiday gift to his customers.
Says Awada, "Every year around this time from November all the way to December I give the gas at cost. I do that in appreciation for our customers for supporting us all year."
He’s making money though. He says more people are coming in and as they do they buy more food and other products from his gas station market and that translates to profit.
So, he gets business and customers get a good price, a win-win!
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