Stations hurt by rising gas prices too - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Stations hurt by rising gas prices too

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Albany/Lee County- Snacks, candy, and beverage sales are what's keeping Morris Leverett's two Lee County Petro stations in business.

"We have to depend on our inside sales to meet our obligations which we have. That's the only way you can make it anymore. If you've got good inside sales you'll do all right," Leverett says.

Though the price per gallon at his stations dropped overnight, it wasn't his doing.

"We're controlled by Petro the dealership we lease from. We have no control over the gas prices. We stay very competitive with gas," he says.

Leverett says he hasn't turned a profit on his gas sales in at least a year, and now that crude oil prices are up to $50 a barrel and rising, he isn't sure when he will.

More expensive crude oil isn't the only culprit for quick price hikes. AAA officials say the Spring Break and the upcoming summer travel season means more demand and always raises gas prices. In addition March is the month when all the refineries switch from making a winter grade to a more expensive summer grade.

"Rebate is probably the best thing going because the higher the price, the more you save. It's 5% off not 5 cents, but 5%, so the higher the gas goes you actually save more and more money," says Shell manager Joel Cawthon.

Station manager Joel Cawthon says Shell's Mastercard is one way consumers are trying to save a little money. They'll pay the regular listed price at the pump, but they'll receive the rebate on their monthly bills, so it's like paying nine cents less than what everyone else pays.

"We've had them lining up wanting to get some information. It used to be when gas was a lot less expensive five percent didn't seem like much, but now that it's getting to be $2.00 a gallon, five percent adds up real quick," Cawthon says.

Station owners and managers say in addition to snack sales they're also relying heavily on lottery sales, which can account for 3% to 6% of their income.

Wednesday the state average for a gallon of unleaded gas is $1.90, but AAA analysts say they're certain that by Summer Georgians will pay at least $2.00 per gallon.

Posted at 5:20 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com