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Gas price variations

Post photo by S. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Last week we had a call from a reader who wanted to know why gas is always higher in Cedar Springs than in Sparta. He said there’s usually about 20 cents difference. On Monday, we checked the gas prices in Sparta, and they were $2.15 at the lowest, and the highest was $2.23. Yet here in Cedar Springs, gas was $2.47. So we contacted Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst at gasbuddy.com.

DeHaan noted that it’s not that unusual for this to happen. “It’s all about competition in an area,” he explained. “For whatever reason, in Sparta they have gas stations that often compete against each other, driving the price down. And yet there may be other times of the year when there’s not so much of spread.”

And he was right. On Wednesday, when the Post checked, gas had jumped up to $2.56 in Cedar Springs. In Sparta, the highest price was $2.53 and the lowest $2.49.

“The gas stations are probably paying similar costs, but the stations in Sparta are probably not making a lot after paying credit card fees and other overhead,” said DeHaan. “One station may be making 1-cent a gallon, and another 15-cents.”

As of Wednesday evening, the national average price for gas was $2.32; the Michigan average price was $2.53; and the Grand Rapids area average was $2.56, the same as in Cedar Springs.

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