We’re #1! …For Gas Prices

WINA notes that we’ve got the most expensive gasoline in the state, with an average of $3.61, compared to a state average of $3.42. The cheapest fuel is in Richmond, at a $3.33 average. Not explained by WINA is why that’s so. I returned from week-long back-to-back trips today, and driving through Curricuck County, NC (just south of the VA border) I paid $2.99/gallon to fill up, which was a common price throughout the area. When I saw the price, I actually did a double-take, followed by a cartoon-style wwaaahhhh?

55 Responses to “We’re #1! …For Gas Prices”

  • Gasoline is $3.18 in Ruckersville, and $3.09 in Waynesboro.
    In Manassas it’s 3.19 as well.
    Is Cville expensive because of our “status”?
    There is no way (fuel)transportation costs are any different for this city as apposed to Ruckersville or Staunton. We are being exploited because the gas retailers think they can get away with it.
    So far, they’re right.

  • It was 2.99 yesterday on 151 from Afton to Nellysford (and Nellysford is usually 10 to 20 cents more than anywhere else).

  • And this high price was true long before the recent gas price crisis.
    Even back some years people were commenting about how much cheaper gas was in Waynesboro and Staunton,on the other side of the mountain.
    Why? Could have something to do with the perception that this is a wealthy area. Certainly it is a high cost of living place.But then so is NoVa-but look at the price that it was in Manassas in Michael’s post. Hmn..

  • I agree with Michael. I’ve often wondered about the C’ville “greed factor”. Especially when I travel around to different cities in VA. It’s like merchants mark everything up more in C’ville (not just gas) because they figure, “Hey, this is Charlottesville, people expect to pay more.” Just my observation from my own experience. Can’t prove it.

  • Gas prices are high because Tiger Fuel delievers to all of Cville and they are greedy little sh!ts. You’ll ALWAYS find cheaper prices in the Valley for everything.

  • I agree with John that Tiger Fuel controls this market with an iron fist. You paying more to make these guys rich. The other station just have to undercut tigerfuel by a nickel and they get all the business they need.

  • Is it worth filing price gouging complaint forms (available here: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/forms-pdf/cp/oca/complaint/pricegouging.pdf) due to the state of emergency declared on September 4 (http://www.governor.virginia.gov/MediaRelations/NewsReleases/viewRelease.cfm?id=767)?

    IMHO, not enough people are talking about this around town, and that includes the folks at WINA and the Charlottesville Radio Group, the Progress, and the “Newsplex.”

  • …and yet oil is down in the $80/barrel range.

    Make sense to me!

  • I’ve sent complaints several times. The more people that do this, then hopefully the Feds will look into it.

  • Is there a web site or google map add on that shows gas prices in the region? I’ve heard of that for other areas. That would be handy to have.

  • @DandyTiger – check out Gas Buddy – http://gasbuddy.com/

  • Wow, that’s nice Jim, thanks. When you look at that site and see the stations around C’ville with 3.40 prices and stations a little bit further away with 2.99 prices it’s even more shocking. Reporting this as gouging is a really good idea.

  • I suppose price gouging reports may be in order – don`t know how valid – but it seems competition should take care of this.

    The rub is there must be something barring the competition from exploiting the price difference.Of course I know as much about local fuel competition as Congress does about the economy which I assume all will agree is not very much.

  • If you really want to lower the price of gas in Charlottesville, drive considerably less. People did this summer and it made a difference.

  • If you don’t like the price, don’t pay it. Driving isn’t a God-given right.

    As for “price-gouging,” how is it that when the seller charges more than you’re willing to pay it’s “gouging” but when you want to pay less than what the seller wants it isn’t “gouging”? You’re both free agents, neither one has any more control over the transaction than the other – although if anyone has more control it’s the buyer; you can always go somewhere else instead, but the gas station owner can’t make another customer come to his station. So why shouldn’t you be charged with “gouging” for driving up to Ruckersville and buying your gas cheaper there?

    Higher prices in general in C-ville aren’t the result of some sinister conspiracy, either, it’s just Econ 101. Prices are high because the cost of living is high, which means the dollar you give the business buys less labor or local resources or rent here than it does in Richmond. The biggest factor driving it all is real estate, which is beyond the control of local businesses or national chains. What it boils down to is this: Charlottesville is expensive because a lot of people, especially rich people, want to live in the area and are willing to pay extra to do so, and that makes money less scarce in the area and therefore less valuable, and makes land, resources, and services more scarce and therefore more expensive. Make this town less pleasant to live in, and prices will go down. Personally I think that would be a pretty stupid tradeoff.

  • bruce–
    Tiger fuel has a monopoly in cville to deliever all it’s gas so it is a result of no other option for alot of folks. fortunately, i only work in cville and live out of town so i can go to wboro to get much cheaper gas.
    obviously you have enough money and don’t have to watch your pennies like the rest of us regular joe’s.

  • And cville costs are higher than outside of cville.

    Buy an acre of land in Wayneboro. $Cheap.00
    Buy the land across from Bodos on Preston. $Not as cheap.00

    Lets face it. Tiger charges more but they put stuff in high price areas.

  • Wow, $3.42 is only 3 cents less than what I pay here in Ca. and prices are dropping every day. Va. was typically more than 50 cents less. Something is not right in Charlottesville.

  • I agree with Bruce and Danpri, and must add that some of you who are complaining about price gouging here in C-ville are also opposed to governmental agencies regulating this sort of thing.

  • I for one am done grabbing my ankles as the greedy get richer off the sweat of my hard work! Cville is not an island, but damn it feels like it. Prices are whacked and our congressmen should be made aware. Thank goodness food prices have finally come down! We are not an island of rich-&-useless, so why all the high prices. I’ll tell you why, because they can!

  • We should also rise up against the housing prices. They are more expensive in Cville than Waynesboro, or FLuvanna, or Greene or anywhere else the Tiger Fuel does not deliver.

    I saw a 2500 SF immaculate house in the nicest area of Waynesboro for under $250,000. That house would run over 500K in cville in the nicest area. Price gouging jerks!!!

    Something MUST be done. Call your governement…

    Wake up Lenin!!

  • This:


    seems to be the standard for price gauging after a disaster under the law in Virginia. There doesn’t seem to me to be the faintest chance that fuel prices in Charlottesville qualify.

    My (minimal) understanding of commodity pricing and what I’ve read recently on the topic leads me to believe that $80/barrel crude oil is a price mostly set by expectations of serious economic depression in this country.

    Lastly, Bruce says:

    “Driving isn’t a G-d-given right.”

    and while I agree wholeheartedly with him (I live in the City and I don’t own a car, thank goodness) we as a society truly have made a tremendous mistake over the past century by redesigning our cities and our lives to require automobiles. Now that it’s becoming clear that such a life isn’t going to continue indefinitely, we (together, acting as a society) need to discover how to correct our mistake. To put it another way, even though I don’t pay for gas at the pump, I do pay for it at other merchants in increased transport costs, etc., and most people I know pay for it. It therefore behooves me to be concerned with the complaints written above, because they represent real problems. What then to do? I don’t think that accusations of price gauging are really very useful. I do think that any conversation about the expense of transportation (which is the topic of the first two current topics on Waldo’s site) is an opportunity to talk about what to do instead of pumping gas into automobiles.

    For a simple example, from those of you who have complained above about the price of gasoline, how many of you are in a car-pool for transport to and from work? To those who are, congratulations and thanks! To those who aren’t, what could be different that would make it possible for you? Is it a question of where you live? The schedule of work? What could the City or your employers do to help?

    Instead of talking about how expensive gasoline is, I’d rather have conversations about what to do instead of paying for it. Additionally, the less gasoline we use, the less demand Tiger Fuels will perceive and the more likely they will be to lower their asking price.

  • if you know your neighbor is price fixing and you decide you could sell gas for 3.03 but they are at 3.45 then you can sell for 3.29 and clean up.

    Land prices don’t explain the price difference alone. This is classic price collusion like colleges do when setting tuition. The feds tried to stop it but they just got informal about it.

    If one player owns the market, the others will simply slighty uncut the price and milk us for extra profit. Put another way sam’s club sells TV’s for the same price in all location and they sell gas at different prices. They buy their gas a huge volume and could sell it for the same price everywhere. While being the lowest for members, they still sell gas here for 15 to 20 sent more the other nearby Sam’s locations.

    Tiger Fuel is a price fixer- there is no doubt

  • I keep seeing people assert that Tiger Fuel has a monopoly in Charlottesville, but nobody’s provided a lick of evidence that this is so. It strikes me as enormously unlikely that, in a market of this size, nobody would compete with a lone supplier that is, as these same people assert, requiring artificially high prices for fuel.

  • For perspective, I live in lower Manhattan and the cost of gas down the street from me is $3.49. Now, I know gas prices are lower in this region than some, but it still can’t help but strike me as outrageous that C’ville stations charge more than downtown Manhattan.

  • Waldo, you needn’t even think that hard to discard much of this conversation as ungrounded at best:

    “[I]f you know your neighbor is price fixing… Tiger Fuel is a price fixer- there is no doubt.”

    This is absurd. “Your neighbor” doesn’t fix prices. Only a conspiracy can commit that crime. Either Tiger is a local monopoly as claimed above (as unlikely as Waldo observes such a case is) and, by definition, it can’t be engaging in price-fixing locally, or it’s not, in which case, people are anonymously proposing that at least a few firms selling gasoline in Charlottesville (Tiger, GOCO Oil, Virginia Oil Company at least) are in a conspiracy to fix prices, a serious felony under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Is there any evidence for this? That local gas prices are higher than some would like them to be isn’t really enough.

    There’s a difference between remarking that a price in the local marketplace is higher than one would expect, or even suggesting that the same is suspicious and bears investigation, and anonymously making outright accusations of a serious federal crime against local businesses in a public venue. That’s just irresponsible and no one benefits.

  • I travel to Richmond frequently. I have noticed that when gas is going down it is always cheaper in Richmond. However, when gas prices are going up it is typically MORE EXPENSIVE IN RICHMOND. I think that C-ville just lags in price changes. I image that gas prices are going down right now and that is why gas is more expensive in C-ville… Just my theory.

  • Gas this evening in Waynesboro is $3.05 a gallon.
    you can bet Cville is at $3.40 .

  • wonder why your home gas prices are also so high?

  • kg mentions that Charlottesville ‘just lags’ behind Richmond in pricing. the fuel terminal for our region is in Richmond. when a (Tiger, Va Oil, etc) tanker pulls up to fill at the terminal that’s when the price is determined. Richmond areas already have their price set. C’ville prices are set when the cost of that tanker begins distributing to our area locations. The terminal being in Richmond is also why we sometimes have high prices for things that seemingly do/should not affect us – such as flooding in the Richmond area.

  • I bought regular gas in Goochland (Oilville exit) yesterday for $2.78 a gallon. I don’t know how much a tanker truck hauls, but it does seem odd that driving 30 miles would put you in such a different price range

  • I’ve been traveling both east and west on I-64 a lot, and I try to fill up the car either in Richmond or the Valley before coming back to Cville as the prices are way cheaper.

  • This morning in Waynesboro, I paid $2.94 a gallon. The overhead sign still had $3.06. And when I passed the station on Friday night, it was $3.14.
    It’s run plain hard to keep up when prices change so quickly.

  • When one sits down and thinks about it, you cannot help but notice the pattern that gas prices seem to always be higher in areas controled by the left….Very interesting…

  • When one sits down and thinks about it, you cannot help but notice the pattern that gas prices seem to always be higher in areas controled by the left…

    Only if you ignore Richmond. And Washington D.C. And Northern Virginia. You took a spurious correlation, intimated it was causation, and smeared over half of the country’s population with that conclusion. Bravo, I guess.

  • Smeared over half the population? Sorry, but nothing spurious here. Go to Richmond and drive through the city, I bet gas is cheaper in Henrico County rather than the city. I grew up in Chicago, gas was cheaper in the suburbs than the city. And I am not just talking about the loop.

  • looking at the bigger picture, here is gas prices by state provided by AAA:


    Note that California, New York, Washington DC and Illinois all have about the same gas prices as Charlottesville, but higher than Virginia as a whole.

    Needless to say, Texas is among the lowest.

  • How many refineries are in D.C.? How many in Texas? How many reasons might there be for any given price pattern? How many reasons has you given for a relationship of consequence?

    For a worthwhile (if challenging and technical) discussion of regulation in this arena, try the University’s celebrated Prof. Kenneth Elzinga in the International Journal of the Economics of Business, Volume 10, Issue 2 (2003). The whole issue is dedicated to understanding gasoline pricing.

    Or you could continue to make spurious innuendos without any evidence or proper argument.

  • Randy is just way off his rocker, no doubt falling through his termite and roach infested porch…

    No seriously, some have some good points. I can tell you having working closely with Big Oil for quite some time, price differentials can typically be accounted for due to the factors already mentioned here, such as the cost of doing business in more expensive areas, the distance from refinery and distribution facilities. That said, Cville is an anomaly, as prices are often substantially higher for reasons that are quite suspicious.

    But Adam Soroka is definitely right about folks needing to wake and smell the stink from our national planning. Or is that a complete lack of planning? For the majority of people, individual transportation is not a luxury in America today: they depend on it to get to work and retrieve supplies. Other than fanaticism, there is little way folks, individually, could and can avoid that. And I’m not interested in hearing from you 20 somethings sans children living in town to tell us your “wisdom”, because you know nothing yet on this subject. What is indeed needed is a national wake-up and actually do some long-range planning; something that has not really existed for decades thanks to to preposterous greed and stupidity of Reaganomics-style dirigisme.

  • ““Gasoline in a highly commercial city with lots of high income folks around tends to be priced higher and that’s Charlottesville,” he said.”


    old, but relevant.

  • Note that California, New York, Washington DC and Illinois all have about the same gas prices as Charlottesville, but higher than Virginia as a whole.

    Hmm. So what you’re saying is that black people cause higher gas prices? Or, looking at the list, perhaps that gas prices are brought down by beginning the name of a state with the letter “M,” compared to naming a state beginning with the letter “I”?

  • Great article on gas prices, made me change my mind some.

  • http://www.nbc29.com/global/story.asp?s=9171405
    Sutton is full of sh!t.
    so he’s saying the Cville is the further from all pipelines. Bull… go over to Carlton Ave. and LOOK at the pipeline.
    Tiger Fuel and Sutton are all greedy people who take advantage of their customers.

  • Bull… go over to Carlton Ave. and LOOK at the pipeline.

    There’s just no way that there’s a crude oil pipeline coming in Charlottesville. I can’t fathom what the purpose would be—we don’t have any refineries. Any pipelines that you’re seeing are almost certainly for natural gas, as a part of the city’s distribution infrastructure.

  • Waldo:

    What I am saying is you go back to the basics, gas prices are lower in areas that identify themselves with the letter R. It has to do with free markets, Nothing more.

    Sure, Texas has the most refineries, and the last time I checked, Charlottesville and Washington DC have none, so you got me on that, but California has 21.


    Free markets can get out of control, yes indeed, I am not saying there is no need for checks, balances and regulations. This country’s greatness comes from the combination of the overall good of our people and the free market system. Think gas prices are too high? Don’t call your politicians, get in the gas business.

  • Use less gas. Set your goal to cut back 25%. If can actually cut back 10% that will make a significant difference in demand.

  • after reading more I cannot believe that gas is 20% more in Waynesboro than Charlottesville due to land prices alone. 10 gallons a car times 40 cars a day at 30 days is $3600 a month. I’m guessing that I’m way low on cars per day. Sam’s Club does 20 cars an hour sometimes so that would be 120 cars making it $120,000 a year. That’s just on the difference on per gallon.

    Ain’t no way property cost/taxes are that much more.

  • Sorry I meant to say 20% higher in Charlottesville than Wanyeboro.

  • What I am saying is you go back to the basics, gas prices are lower in areas that identify themselves with the letter R. It has to do with free markets, Nothing more.

    And you’re not willing to concede that a) this is not a real pattern, just you seeing patterns in noise or b) that even if it’s true, the two share a root cause, rather than a relationship of causality?

  • Waldo, what is there to concede? Areas that promote free enterprise will enjoy lower costs. California’s excessive regulation is legendary, and their residents pay the price. I will concede I cannot prove that Charlottesville gas prices are higher because of excessive regulation or taxes, but perhaps it should be looked at as a possible cause instead of just blaming the wholesale supplier (who might have a higher cost structure than those in other areas).

    I have done as much to prove my overall point as the left has done to tie our financial crisis as being due solely to the Presidents policies. You want to talk about noise by association, examine that. (by the way, on that point, I blame both parties equally, but that is another topic).

  • Randy, with “Waldo, what is there to concede?” followed by “I will concede I cannot prove that Charlottesville gas prices are higher because of excessive regulation or taxes…”

    I think you’ve answered your own question. To continue your remark;

    “…but perhaps it should be looked at as a possible cause[.]”

    Certainly. Had you begun your remarks in such sensible wise rather than with “gas prices seem to always be higher in areas controled [sic] by the left….Very interesting…” I, for one, should never have disagreed.

  • Just to keep beating a dead horse, gas in Richmond is anywhere from $2.68 to $2.99.

    That it’s so much more in Charlottesville is remarkable.

  • I was driving from the Fredericksburg area into C’ville today. Gas prices were $2.99 all the way south, even in Ruckersville. The Tiger Fuel store and the Virginia Oil store at the intersection of 29 & Airport Rd were priced at $3.29. I’m not sure how 3 or 4 miles makes a difference of 30 cents but these stores are owned by different companies, so it’s not all Tiger Fuel being greedy as proclaimed here by others. However, today’s Daily Progress article on fuel prices has Tiger Fuel president David Sutton claiming businesses that sell fuel more slowly still have higher prices because they paid the higher ‘old’ price for their inventory. With that theory every fuel station in Charlottesville sells fuel more slowly than the Ruckersville Burger King Exxon. It may be true, but it just seems odd.

  • Randy said:

    When one sits down and thinks about it, you cannot help but notice the pattern that gas prices seem to always be higher in areas controled by the left….Very interesting…

    I have heard some hilariously outrageous assertions in the comments on this site, but this one takes the cake. I just had to clean my keyboard because I snorted water out my nose when I read that. Well done, Randy, well done!

  • Speaking of the sky-high cost of gas…compressed air, which years ago was free, also seems to be getting more expensive. Does anyone know of a station which still provides it free?

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