Have you ever wondered why 4 different gas stations in the same town can all charge different prices? Are there any limits on what they can charge?  Who determines the prices of gasoline, and how can the prices be so different when one gas station is right across the street from another?

Do you ever wonder about these things? I do. I'm always assuming that there must be some kind of law against gouging, but I'm not sure that there is. I believe if you are willing to pay $5.00 for a gallon of gas, then you could probably find a place that would charge you that amount.

So I did some digging. I asked a friend who works in the industry and sells gas, and she said that it's all about the competition in the area. Even if you own a string of branded gas stations, one on the south side of town, may charge more than another on the north side of town.  It's based on neighboring competitors.

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I read that prices are also affected by access to interstates and highways. The closer you are to an interstate or highway, the more pricy it typically will be. The article said that because land prices are higher near interstates and highways, that fuel will also cost more in those locations.

It also depends on the profitability of the location selling the gas. If all they sell is gas, it could be that they need to charge more. If the location sells other things, like groceries, quick bite food and car supplies, they may be able to charge less.

So, is there a gouging rule in place? According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, there is no corporate pricing rule in place regulating what locations charge for gasoline.

So how can you find the cheapest or at least reasonable prices for gasoline in your area? You can download Apps to help you with this. One App, called Gas Buddy, at 4.4. stars, supposedly helps you get your gas cheaper right at the gas pump that you're at. It will also give all the prices around you in your area to help you find the cheapest fuel.

Gas Guru does the same thing, but has a lower rating at 3.3. stars.

For more App ideas to help you save gas at the pump, check out the 5 Best Apps To Find Cheap Gas from CNN.


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