I-TEAM: Why is the price at the pump so different at some gas stations?

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The I-TEAM found some drivers paying less than a dollar for a gallon of gas while others are paying nearly twice that, so we investigated.

Friday morning on Cleveland’s far west side, you could find gas stations selling gas for 98 cents a gallon.

That made us wonder, why don’t we see that everywhere?

Just down the road, we saw $1.17 and downtown $1.69. We saw $1.50 and more in the suburbs, too.

Drivers we met cashing in on the lowest prices also wondered about the drastic difference in prices. They’ve seen it, as well.

“You tell me. It doesn’t make sense. There’s so much disparity in gas prices,” said one person. “I think everybody should get a break all the way across the board.”

The I-TEAM discovered some people have even filed complaints with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. They accuse some gas stations of price gouging. In short, they say, when prices are 50 and 70 cents higher per gallon, it’s not fair.

AAA said prices overall have dropped due to the coronavirus crisis with so many people stuck at home. Demand for gas is as low as it’s been since the 1960’s.

As for the wide range in pricing, competitors on the same block might charge the same prices. A gas station along a busy highway might charge more and get customers to pay it.

We also spoke with Adam Radogna, owner of a convenience store in Parma. He’s charging $1.35 a gallon. He says his corporate supplier sets his price.

He explained that gas prices have dropped with the streets deserted and some stores go way low on gas prices to get people to shop inside.

Radogna said more of the private owners can cut prices so much they might not be making money, and they might even be losing money on gas.

“It’s been affecting us a lot. It’s just slower right now. Not a lot of people are traveling. Not a lot of people are working,” he said.

Through it all, AAA says don’t get used to this. Prices will go back up as soon as more people start going back to work.

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