With gas prices falling every day in San Diego, averaging $2.63 a gallon on January 9 (according to gasbuddy.com), motorists may wonder why nine stations in the county seem to be bucking the declining-price trend. These stations have continued selling regular gas above the noticeably high $3.00-per-gallon cash price. Some of the nine stations haven’t lowered their prices since before the holidays.
All of the high-priced nine are major branded stations. I asked attendants at each one to explain the higher-than-average prices (posted as of 8:00 a.m., January 9, on gasbuddy.com).
• Shell, $3.49, Del Mar Heights Road & High Bluff Drive, Carmel Valley: “We also pay the highest rent of any station — $22,000 a month.”
• 76, $3.29, Garnet Avenue & Mission Bay Drive. Pacific Beach: “The manager’s not available, he’s with a customer, call him on Monday."
• 76, $3.29, Orange Avenue, Coronado: “We’re special.”
• Shell, $3.29, Mission Center Road & Mission Center Court, Mission Valley: “The owner’s not available. Call him on Monday.”
• Mobil, $3.29, Mission Center Road & Mission Center Court: Mission Valley: “I have no idea.”
• Valero, $3.19, Orange Avenue, Coronado: “The oil company sets the prices.”
• Shell, $3.19, 28th Street & Boston Avenue, Grant Hill: “I don’t know. I’m just a worker here.”
• Chevron, $3.09, Camino del Rio North & Qualcomm Way, Mission Valley: “I have nothing to do with it. Call the manager around 12 o’clock.”
• 76, $3.09, Pearl Street & Eads Avenue, La Jolla: “Rent is very expensive here — $25,000 a month."
Of any part of San Diego County, Escondido has been the low-price leader in gasoline for decades. Experts say there are a lot of independent gas stations in town that were abandoned by the major brands; thus, more competition. On January 8, of the 11 low-price leaders in San Diego County, 8 stations were in Escondido, including the top-5 lowest priced.