Crawfordsville gas prices dip, hurt local business

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (WLFI) – Gas prices in Crawfordsville are some of the lowest in the state, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for one business owner.

“I think the gas prices are great,” driver Brian Parker said.

Filling up got a whole lot cheaper in Crawfordsville.

“I’m saving almost half because I was paying upwards of $4 a gallon,” Parker said.

Monday morning gas prices were about 40 cents a gallon less than the state average. Some places were even selling gas for $1.42 a gallon.

“I absolutely love them because about $20 will fill this up,” driver Jody Lejeune said.

Driver John Hendrick said, “It’s dropped a little over half of what it was probably two months ago, so it’s a pretty good deal I guess for a little while.”

That’s good news for drivers, but not for Sunoco gas station owner Trish Schwabe.

“For the past two weeks, gas prices in Crawfordsville have been extremely low,” Schwabe said. “And for us, we’ve been selling gas at a loss for two weeks straight.”

This is Schwabe’s only store. She said when she sells gas for $1.52 a gallon that equals a 30 cents per gallon loss to her bottom line.

“When we’re selling the gas at a loss at the pump,” Schwabe said. “If you don’t come inside and buy something then we didn’t make anything. It actually cost us money. We paid for part of your gas.”

In order to make money when gas prices take a dip, Schwabe said she relies on people buying stuff from inside the store.

“If someone is buying the gas at a 30 cent per gallon loss, and they have a 10-gallon tank, and I’ve sold the gas at a loss for $3 — in order for me to recoup that $3 that I have to turn over to our brand, they have to come inside and buy about $9 worth of merchandise and most people will not do that,” Schwabe said.

She said she doesn’t know why prices fluctuate so much, but when they do everyone follows. Schwabe said she lowers her prices with everyone else does to keep drivers coming to fill up.

“I think that maybe one station says I’m not getting enough market share here and I’m going to drop my price a little bit, then the next station follows and the next station follows,” Schwabe said.

By 1:45 p.m. Monday, all five stations around Schwabe’s raised prices to $1.75 a gallon.

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