The current thread on $1.99 gasoline reminded me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask.
When I lived in LA, it was always fairly reliable that no matter what stations were charging for the lowest-available octane, as you moved up to the next-available grade, it would cost about 10 cents more. Possibly slightly more, but not much. And when I’d gone on road trips, I don’t recall noticing anything different than that formula, even in places where the available octanes weren’t the same.
However, since I’ve moved to the DC area, I’ve noticed that in my part of Maryland (and what little I’ve observed in Virginia, as well), there’s a relatively HUGE disparity between the lowest grade and the mid-grade, and sometimes a similar disparity going from there to the premium grade.
For example, using gasbuddy.com to look at the prices for the station I frequented closest to my last residence in LA, I find this:
[li]Low-grade (Regular): $3.15[/li][li]Mid-grade: $3.25[/li][li]Premium: $3.35[/li][/ul]
However, when I look at prices for the station closest to my house in Maryland, I find this:
[li]Low-grade (Regular): $1.99[/li][li]Mid-grade: $2.49[/li][li]Premium: $2.79[/li][/ul]
So, instead of a normal (to me) 10-cent jump at all levels, we get a 50-cent jump followed by a 30-cent jump. And as I mentioned, every other station I’ve seen in the area shows similar jumps. Why is it so different here? Even accounting for different states using different octanes doesn’t explain that much of a difference. Are the various octanes taxed differently here than in other parts of the country?
And, more broadly, what kind of cost differences between grades are you used to seeing where you live?