Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where have all the gas stations gone?

Readers, I want to take a a poll and here is why:

In my neighborhood and surrounding towns, over the decades, the number of gasoline filling stations has declined but not at any rate that would raise an eyebrow. A new store comes in and needs real estate or a housing development needs more room. I get it. Progress and change.

But over the past year, not only have the numbers of the departed gone way up as the price of energy skyrocketed but now there are exactly zero stations in my town with the nearest one to my house a mile away. Not a big deal? It is when you consider it is in the next county. The nearest one in my county is three miles, no that one is shut down, so make that four miles away.

Again, not a big deal? Some of you I am sure, have to drive dozens of miles to fill up but I live on Long Island where three million of my closest friends live within a few dozen miles. This is not a rural area and it is not a mass transit friendly area, either. We need our cars and not just for luxury or convenience.

With so many people needing so much gasoline (demand) then why are the sellers of that product closing up shop? I don't get it.

So, here is the poll question. Have your noticed an unusual reduction in the number of gasoline stations where you live? Let us know where that is, too.

Bonus question - what is replacing those gas stations? Here, banks are sprouting up like weeds, like everyone is so flush with cash. And lately, drug stores are replacing the gas stations.

Given the times, drugs I can understand a little bit more.

7 comments:

Doug said...

I live in pinellas county florida,close to where the now "infamous" hulk hogan and his family live. your right mike about the stations, they do have a hard time if they sell mostly just gas. I talked to the owner of one about a year ago and she said they make about a dime a gallon. the stations that do well are the ones that sell lots of food. these stations that go belly up are either still vacant lots or like mike said, they are a wallgreens or or other type of drug store.
doug

Anonymous said...

I asked same question years ago, and the price of gasoline wasn't this high either.
At least in CA where I leave, independant gas station owners are not making as much as they used to.
I am not sure where they go, but the profit goes to someone else.
on top of that EPA, & AQMD rules and laws are getting tough, more and more gas station owners are getting out.
Just like all the mechanic shops are now mini-mart.
They are desperately seeking profit.

Anonymous said...

I asked same question years ago, and the price of gasoline wasn't this high either.
At least in CA where I leave, independant gas station owners are not making as much as they used to.
I am not sure where they go, but the profit goes to someone else.
on top of that EPA, & AQMD rules and laws are getting tough, more and more gas station owners are getting out.
Just like all the mechanic shops are now mini-mart.
They are desperately seeking profit.

Quick Takes Pro said...

I had a feeling that stations were getting the same small profit amount but now it is on more expensive inventory. That means the profit margin went way down and selling the store, instead of what's in it, turned into a better deal.

K-Dawg said...

L.A. Times article on gas station owners and their woes :

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fi-gas10-2008jun10,0,7165067.story

LP said...

I've known a few gas station owners and here are some of the problems they face:

1) Tanks get refilled, they have to pay the distributor immediately, which is about $20-40K. However, credit card companies take forever to pay the gas station owners for the gas that is bought by us. Easy to sell, long to collect.
2) They make about 10 cents a gallon. About 6 - 8 cents go to the credit card companies. so they are left with 2 - 4 cents. For which they pay taxes. Also, if the incur any losses, the need to reserve some of the 2 - 4 cents for that as well.

So that leaves them with about 1.5 to 3 cents a gallon. Not a great business to be in.

Quick Takes Pro said...

I agree with everyone on this but have three problems.

First, the range of prices is so great near me - often as wide as 15 cents per gallon on regular - that it would be no big deal to raise prices by a dime to cover costs.

Second, do we really need 9/10 of a cent pricing anymore? Does anyone look at the pennies column when they are deciding to buy gas and from whom? I never look lower than the dimes column anymore.

Third, if nobody can make a living selling retail gas and demand is greater than ever then something's gotta give. Somebody is going to figure out how to serve all this demand and make a buck doing it. And it could be a simple as raising prices now that each station seems to have a monopoly on their own square mile of turf.