Gasoline taxes can vary greatly from state to state and this can make a significant difference as far as what one pays at the pump.
While heading to AZ from CA we saw that gas near the CA border (the town of Blythe) had gas at $3.05. Across the border in AZ (the town of Quartsite) had gas at $2.52. A difference of 53 cents per gallon over the 22 miles between the two towns.
Those of you who live near a state border or who are travelling today, what cross state border differences in gas prices are you seeing?
A while back I was visiting a friend in LaCrosse, WI (on MN/WI boarder) and mentioned that I was going to get gas on the way out of town. She said that I should go the other way and drive through MN since it’s 10 of 15 cents cheaper. Personally, for me, I won’t go out of my way to save a buck or $1.50 on gas, even more so if I have to travel into unfamiliar territory.
I have a friend who’s dad lives in Arizona. Whenever she’d go to visit him she’d always mention how much cheaper gas is out there. She said something about OPEC not having control over their prices. I know OPEC doesn’t control prices, but even having said that, I would assume Arizona isn’t buying crude directly.
I wonder if they just have less tax on their gas than other states. I remember at one point there was a sticker on the pumps saying how much of the price per gallon was tax and it was something really high. Looking at wiki (and confirmed by another site) it’s about 55¢ per gallon (state and fed). If gas it $2.50/gal that’s 22%. Perhaps AZ is charging some or all of the taxes that other states are.
The price difference between New York and Vermont used to be in the twenty to twenty-five cents per gallon range. The gap has narrowed in the last couple of years but it’s still usually ten to fifteen cents.
Average price in DC is currently $2.80 according to several websites. Average price in Bethesda, MD is currently $2.49. The difference in taxes doesn’t explain the difference, it is almost certainly that real estate is significantly more expensive in most parts of DC than even in a close-in suburb.
Try across the street. Looks like only $0.12 difference right now but I worked near two that were $0.35-$0.40 apart consistently. Shell vs. ARCO. Both on the corner of a major street that might’ve been a hassle to cross, but opposite each other on a smaller street that is mostly a trivial choice. This would’ve been around 2003 when prices were much cheaper as well.
There are people who believe that if something is more expensive it must be better. My mother, confronted by two identical piles of cabbages in a greengrocer’s would always choose the higher priced ones. Diamonds are only expensive because people want them to be.
Apart from that, I did ask once, when filling my tank, how a garage a couple of hundred yards away could sell petrol for several pence more than I was paying. I was told that most of their sales were to contact business customers, who were prepared to pay more for the convenience of monthly billing.
I have a friend with a beautifully-preserved 1998 Lincoln Town Car. She only buys Shell or BP premium gas, because the cheaper fuel makes her car run rough and miss. I know this because I borrowed her car for a few days recently and she forgot to tell me - I filled up at a cheap gas station and indeed, the car started running poorly until it got re-fueled with premium.
Regional fuel tax can make a bit of a difference in price. I just checked gasbuddy.com - cheapest gas near me is $1.94 (!) and surrounding states seem to be running about 20 cents more.
Yeah, within a couple of miles in Chicago itself you can find differences easily of up to $0.40 or $0.50 a gallon and, if Gas Buddy is to be believed, the highest gas price in Chicago proper is $3.89, the lowest at $2.39. If the high price is an error or just a simple outlier, there are a cluster of stations in the $3.19-$3.39 range as well.)
It used to be that when you crossed the river from Illinois into Missouri gas would go down by about $.30/gallon. But these days my Illinois friends are boasting of $1.99 gas, while I’ve yet to see it sink below $2.09 here in Missouri. Not sure what’s happening there.
The ‘rough running’ you experienced was most likely ‘knocking’ and it’s pretty bad for the engine. I expect your friend’s car needs the ‘Premium’ gas because it has more anti knock additive in it than regular - this additive used to be lead (Tetraethyllead) untill we realised how harmful it was. These days I think it will be ethanol.
Yes, I suspect the brand has nothing to do with it. I recall in Canada someone mentioned that the oil companies will trade gas - one area may have a Shell storage facility, the other companies will buy their gas from there; horse trading with other locations, so PetroCanada, for example, may supply a different area. The small independent stations get their gas from wherever they can.