Gas has always been more expensive in Fowlerville – maybe 10 or 20 cents a gallon more than in Howell and other surrounding communities – but in the past few weeks, it’s gotten downright ridiculous.
As of this writing, all four of the gas stations at the I-96 interchange in Fowlerville were at $2.69 a gallon. The BP station on Grand River Avenue was just a tad lower, at $2.65.
Seven miles down the road in Howell, gas at VG’s is selling for $2.25 a gallon. Most of the places in Howell are at $2.25 a gallon.
So, to review:
Gas in Fowlerville is $2.69 a gallon.
Gas in Howell is $2.25 a gallon. That’s 44 cents a gallon cheaper just seven miles away.
WHAT IN THE NAME OF CHARLIE GEHRINGER IS GOING ON HERE?!
In the cities all around Fowlerville, gas is much, much cheaper. According to GasBuddy (no relation to me), it’s as cheap as $2.19 in Brighton. It’s $2.49 in Hartland, about $2.36 in Pinckney, $2.25 in Okemos and $2.43 in Stockbridge. The state average is $2.39 a gallon.
So I’ll ask again: WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? How in the world can the gas stations in Fowlerville justify charging 44 cents a gallon MORE for gas?
I spend a lot of time in Fowlerville, but only once in the past couple months have I actually bought gas there. I stupidly let the tank run down too low, so my solution was to only buy $5 worth at a Fowlerville station until I could drive to Howell to fill up. It was the principle as much as anything – I couldn’t live with myself if I paid 44 cents a gallon more.
I’ve heard various explanations through the years as to why gas is more expensive in Fowlerville, but the only explanation that makes sense is this: All the gas station owners like it that way.
You can’t tell me that it costs more to deliver gas to Fowlerville than it does to Howell or Stockbridge. You can’t tell me that the 87 octane gas they’re selling in Fowlerville is any different than the 87 octane gas they’re selling everywhere else.
So the only explanation is that the station owners in Fowlerville have decided to charge more. A lot more. Period.
Now, is that illegal? Probably not. If there’s just an unspoken agreement among everyone that they’re going to keep their prices high, then it’s probably not illegal. But if they HAVE discussed it any way, well, then there’s a problem.
On its website, this is what the Federal Trade Commission has to say on the matter: “If there is evidence that the gasoline station operators talked to each other about increasing prices and agreed on a common pricing plan, that may be an antitrust violation.”
We’ll leave it to the authorities to investigate whether or not that’s taking place. State Rep. Hank Vaupel and State Sen. Joe Hune are both from Fowlerville, so it would be nice to see them ask for an opinion on this. Sure, we can all drive to Howell to fill up, but the local folks are getting screwed.
In the meantime, here’s my detailed plan for how we, as Fowlerville consumers, need to deal with this. Ready? Here’s my plan:
DON’T BUY GAS IN FOWLERVILLE.
Brilliant, huh? Yeah, it took me a while to come up with that strategy. Seriously, though, until things change, don’t buy gas in Fowlerville. Ever. And don’t visit those gas stations to buy other things, either. If you want a bottle or pop or a newspaper, just go to Save-On Foods or O’Connor’s Deli. Those are great businesses, and they aren’t screwing over anyone with their prices.
Fowlerville is a great, great town. It deserves better gas stations.