Gas Price Quirk?

So a few months ago, gas in Las Vegas was:

Reg Premium Super
$1.45 $1.55 $1.65

Now it is:

Reg Premium Super
$1.89 $1.99 $2.09

Are you starting to see a pattern? Why is the 10 cent difference always the same? Does this mean in the foreseeable future, the prices will be:

Reg Premium Super
$120.32 $120.42 $120.52
I know there is seldom a good reason to buy either Premium, or Super - but what is with this “constant” of 10 cent difference, regardless of the price-gouging-oil-monopoly-friends-of-Bush-cartel price of the day?

Are gas prices in Vegas standardized? :confused:

Here in the DC area every gas station has different prices with different intervals between the grades you mention. Not sure how you came up with the data upon which your premise is based.

Gas around here used to be a few cents difference between grades. Sometime in the last few years it went to the 10 cent increments which DMark mentions. It’s fairly uniform, although I have very rarely found a 4-5 cent markup from Regular to the midgrade (whatever they call it). And the overall gas price is different (about +/- 20 cents for regular) depending where you shop for gasoline.

I’m just guessing, but I think that the ten cents per increment came along when gasoline prices became high enough that the gasoline companies thought that they could get away with it.

Oh, and “here” is the Cincinnati Metro area.

I just did a quick poll here at work and every person agrees that no matter which gas station, it is still ALWAYS 10 cents difference per grade.

This was also confirmed with a lot of ex-Californian who moved here and said the same was always true there as well.

It is not that I want prices to go up more…it just seems odd that even though the prices go up, the price difference in grades does not budge.

To a lesser extent I’ve noticed the same thing in Australia. I buy the 97Octane stuff for my car, and while most places do not advertise the price of the premium stuff where you can see it from the road, adding 8c per litre to the cost of the standard is a pretty good rule of thumb. It’s never out by more than about 0.2c.

It’s been the same since the price of standard was about 75c/L. Now the price ranges from between 95-107c/L, but the difference to the standard is still about 8c.

I cannot explain it, or answer the question about it. I just wanted to do some more typing.

There are two basic costs to the manufacturer when making gasoline from crude oil - the price of the crude, and the cost of refining it. The cost of the crude oil is (essentially) the same regardless of the grade of gasoline produced, and the marginal cost of creating premium gasoline rather than regular is (essentially) the same regardless of the cost of the crude oil both are produced from.

(Of course, marketing realities being what they are, the actual cost of creating something doesn’t necessarily have a whole lot to do with its price in the marketplace. But in this case, I believe it’s the driving force here.)

Right now, the cost of the component crude oil is going up due to the uncertanties of an upcoming war in the middle of one of the largest crude oil production areas. The cost of refining the end product hasn’t changed much.

If we’re going to discuss patterns in the pricing of gasoline, I’d point out the almost-set-your-watch-by-it pattern here in Ohio that consists of the weekly price jack taking place on Thursday. The “Thursday jack” has been going on for years here, which is why I buy my gas on Wednesday. What, I must ask, happens on Thursdays?

Well, here in San Jose it is currently

Reg Premium Super
2.07 2.17 2.27

Strangely enough, here in Flint, we have a few gas stations whose regular and premium gas prices are always the same, IE regular: 1.77 premium: 1.77 super: 1.87
Thier super price is always 10 cents more, though.

They used to do that, down in our little corner of your fair state, but for some recent recently changed to a “Tuesday jack”. But it still starts with a “T”, so maybe the schedule got mixed up. It’s taken me a while to get used to filling my tank on Monday night instead of Wednesday night. Must be a supply chain thing.

It’s interesting that the increments from regular to premium and from premium to super are equal in the examples given here (specifically Vegas and San Jose). The Shell station where I buy gas puts premium 60% of the way from regular to super. For example, the San Jose prices above would be 2.07, 2.19, 2.27. This despite the fact that the middle grade is simply a 50/50 mix of the other two (on authority from repair guy who was working on a pump a while back: I asked). Has anyone else seen the middle grade priced higher than the average of the other two?

As for the increments, I never payed attention.

I mentioned in another thread that I almost always see a $0.20 difference between grades hereabouts. Southeast Michigan/Metro Detroit. It seems to always be exactly $0.20.

Having worked in a “convenience store’gas station” back in the late 80’s, I can tell you why we jacked up the price on thursdays, at least this is how it was explained to me at our managers meetings- The pricing dept (regional office) would call us on wednesday and give us our new prices , to be effective the following morning, to take advantage of the fact that
1-most people get paid on weekends (most likely to fill up tank)
2-people tend to leave on roadtrips on weekends.
Then, starting on monday, I had to go drive around and write down what our nearest 3 competitors were selling for, call these numbers into the pricing dept, and they would give me new, lower gas prices. The 10 cent spread was an eternal mystery tho.

Question: Are the diff. grades of gasoline chemically different (say, like diesel vs. unleaded, though obviously not to that degree), or just solutions of differing strength (like 80-proof vodka vs. 100-proof vodka)?

yes they are…

the higher the octane the slower the gasoline burns.

higher octane is a detonation (knock) deterrent. if you have a turbocharged, supercharged, or high compression car, you will most likely see PREMIUM UNLEADED FUEL ONLY or 93 OCTANE ONLY somewhere on the dash / gas cap…

listen to it, if you put regular gas in a car that specifies premium gas, one or two things will happen

  1. you will suffer reduced performance
  2. you will destroy the engine

the basic idea is, detonation (or knock or predetonation or pinging, etc) is when the gasoline ignites before it should, as the piston is still traveling UP in the cylinder, the piston has nowhere to go but up, and instead of the explosion giving off useful energy, it breaks things instead. most newer cars can tell when you do something stupid like this and they just retard timing a whole lot, which kills power output. most older cars (especially older turbocharged and supercharged cars, not so much the higher compression ones) will simply self destruct.

by the way, if your car doesnt say use 93 octane or premium, dont. it is a waste of money, despite what your friend or your dad or the chevron with techron commercials told you. if you dont have a forced induction or a high compression (which is basically the same thing), then its pointless, it doesnt make you go faster (actually it will reduce power output, because it burns slower) etc etc…