You Ask, We Investigate: Why Gas Prices Vary City to City

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In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, Fox 24’s Katelynn Zoellner spoke with gasoline experts to find out what causes the price of gas to vary city to city.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Arkansas is $2.44, according to GasBuddy. Depending on where you live in the state, it could cost you more or less. For example, it will cost you at the cheapest $2.25 for a gallon of regular gas in Fayetteville. If you head about 20 miles east to Huntsville it’s $2.48. So, how can two towns so close to one another have such different gas prices?

“That’s probably one of the most asked questions,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Everyone is paying a different amount for gas. It’s like you can go on Amazon and buy a TV today and in five hours they may put it on sale. You just never know. Generally speaking, gas prices vary from station to station, because everyone may be buying from someone else.”

DeHaan said there are several factors that influence gas prices including taxes, location and the number of competitors.

“It could depend on when the stations bought the gas, what they paid for it and how far away they are from infrastructure” he said. “The further the gas comes to a rural area, the more it costs. But, also, generally that means the less competition we see at the retail level. If the town has one or two stations, it’s probably not going to be very competitive and prices may be higher. Whereas if the town has ten even twenty stations, there’s more competition and prices will likely be lower.”

Even if the price of gas is dropping, DeHaan said it may take a while before you feel it at the pump, if you live in a rural area. That’s because smaller towns, like Huntsville, generally sell less gasoline.

“Any price increase or decrease takes longer to show up, because stations will generally adjust their prices when they are being re-supplied with gasoline,” he said. “Once they sell through that expensive gas, they will probably pass along some decrease in what their retail price is. Likewise, if they have cheap gas in their tank and the price of oil is skyrocketing, they may not rise their price until they buy the more expensive gasoline.”

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. For those of you driving for these holidays, here are some tips that can save you a few bucks:

– Shop around for gas

– Download an app that can help you find the cheapest prices

– Find a fuel rewards program that works for you

Is there something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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