The price of gas has stayed low compared with the surrounding area, and well below state and national averages, due to competition, station managers say. (Staff photo/John Bush)
Wapakoneta residents who are traveling to other cities in Ohio will notice an increase in the price of gas.
That’s because gas prices in Wapakoneta have been lower than those in surrounding areas in recent weeks.
As of Wednesday, the price of gas was as low as $3.05 at the Marathon on Defiance Street. Comparatively, the lowest price for gas in Lima is $3.19, and $3.18 in St. Marys.
Wapakoneta is also averaging 25 cents less per gallon than the average price per gallon in the entire state of Ohio — $3.35 in compared to $3.10 in Wapak.
“I think gas in Wapak is normally cheaper because there seems to be a bigger battle between gas stations to lower their prices to get more customers,” said Bobbi Bendely, manager of Marathon on Defiance Street.
Bendely said she has noticed that this ongoing battle to lower prices has wound up costing gas stations like Marathon.
“When prices drop really low like they are now, we end up losing money the majority of the time,” she said.
Dave Brian, an attendant who works at the Shell gas station on the corner of Defiance and Blackhoof, has noticed this same problem.
“Our prices are way under where they should be,” he said. “I was in a couple different towns last weekend and it seems like we’re just giving fuel away.”
Brian said that part of the problem for Shell is that its main competitor, Walmart, keeps its prices fairly stagnant.
“Walmart won’t move their prices,” he said. “They’re a big enough company, so they don’t care what anyone else does. But the people that own these Shell stations are always gonna stay on track with where Walmart is at.”
Much like Marathon, Brian said he is supposed to monitor the prices at competing gas stations in town, and raise or lower the price based on what the competition is doing.
Brian will typically raise or lower the price only a few cents per gallon at a time, unless he receives a call from his boss telling him to raise the price anywhere from 25 to 50 cents.
Bendely said she is not allowed to make “massive jumps” in pricing unless she receives a call from the National Oil Corporation telling her to do so.
“Normally when I get the call, we end up doing a big jump up in pricing, and then it slowly climbs back down,” she said. “You’ll never see it jump significantly down.”
Bendely said she thinks gas in Wapakoneta will continue to stay right around where it is currently.
“Prices here seem to be hovering around the three dollar mark lately, and it doesn’t seem like they’re getting progressively higher,” she said. “I think it’ll keep being as close to three dollars as it can.”