Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gas and Geography

This post may be of interest only to local readers; but, you may see the same phenomena where you live, let me know.

I live “inside the perimeter” (ITP) versus “outside the perimeter” (OTP), the perimeter being I-285 which circles the most urban part of Atlanta.

Lots of stuff costs more ITP than it costs OTP, office rents, houses, restaurants and bars being good examples. The closer to downtown, unless you hit the few remaining blighted areas, the more stuff costs.

But I’m having trouble with gas and geography. I understand that the BP station on Monroe just off Piedmont in Midtown charges a bunch for gas. As do the one on Peachtree near Ansley Park and the one on Fourteenth off of Spring, they are the only ones within miles and the real estate is very pricey, etc.

The most consistently cheap gas in Atlanta is a QuikTrip. There’s one down the street from the office, another near home and two along Buford Highway, not too far from me. All are ITP. The prices at all four track each other. Today they are $1.55 a gallon.

Today, I had to go up to Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County, Northeast of the City and about ten miles OTP. The QT had gas for $1.39 a gallon. In the past I’ve noticed that gas prices in Gwinnett and Cobb County (Northwest of the City and stretching from just OTP to 15 miles OTP) are usually significantly cheaper than where I live.

Now here’s the thing, the “tank farm” where all the gas haulers fill up is “just” OTP off of Buford Highway, much closer to me than the stations in Gwinnett and Cobb. That both Cobb and Gwinnett Counties have a cent less sales tax than DeKalb County where I live doesn’t make up for the price spread. All of the mentioned counties are within “Metro Atlanta” and subject to EPA blending regulations. The differential cost for a quarter acre in Cobb and Gwinnett versus DeKalb to put up a QT can’t be the difference.

So what is it?


Anonymous said...

I think that's the same here in Phoenix. Gas prices inside the I-10 and I-17 are generally seven cents higher in the surrounding areas.

But $1.55 sounds so good right now! We're still at $1.65 at the AM/PM. Sigh.

Keith said...

I think anonymous is Debo. Your paying $1.65? I'm paying $1.61 at the Chevron in Gilbert.

I don't really know the answer to your question because I see no rhyme or reason in the gas pricing. I have seen one gas station directly across the street from another one and the praice difference can be 10 cents per gallon. Figure that out.

You mentioned QuikTrip. Have you ever gone inside one of those places to get anything? I would love to know who trains those folks for Customer Service. They are quick, efficient and polite.


Dave said...

Anon is Debo, she does that, she just forgot to sign her comment.

As to QT, you are absolutely right. It is privately owned, if it ever goes public, I'm a stock buyer. You almost never see a poor employee. Whomever runs its HR should write a book, or better, quit and start consulting, he or she is a genius.

fermicat said...

I can think of two potential reasons for the difference.

First, look around at what competitors are charging ITP and OTP. QT is almost always the cheapest around, but they don't have to go as low if their competitors are charging an arm and a leg.

Second, operating costs are probably cheaper OTP due to land cost or rent being lower. I live about a mile OTP and got a big "discount" on the price of my house, compared to a similar one just ITP.

Debo Blue said...

I'm sorry, I forgot to sign my comment.

I'm signing this one and blowing a kiss to the screen too.

PS-I also rolled my eyes pfffth!

DaleC said...

QT's jalapeno-cheese hot dogs are scrumptious.

Jeni said...

Since I don't go out very often, usually only have to fill up my jeep once a month (thankfully, since it only gets about 20 mpg and even at the reduced gas prices, that's still a big expense for me then) so I don't know right now what the current gas prices are around here in central PA. I think the last time I fueled up, it was around $1.65-1.75 a gallon though -somewhere in that vicinity. Still a far cry from some folks across the country who have said their gas prices were down well below $1.50 a gallon though. Ah, for the good old days! Hard to believe but my first car -a 1967 Chevy Nova -used to cost me about $5 a week for gas and I got about 250 miles to a tank back then. Today, I'm just happy that I can now fill the tank for less than $50!