May 07, 2021

Gas price war ignites buying spree in Saco> Low prices trim station owners’

SACO — Unleaded regular fetched a mere 94 cents a gallon as a gasoline price war gave motorists an early Christmas present but trimmed holiday profits for station owners.

At least four gas stations along U.S. 1 dropped their price to 94 cents, citing both a worldwide oil glut and stiff local competition.

Robert Croteau of Bob’s Mini Mart said the war broke out last week when a competing station dropped its price and he responded in kind. Another station joined in, and the battle was on.

Most station owners said the price at the pump was just a penny or two higher than the price they pay their distributors. Croteau says he’s selling his gas for less than what he pays, but he fears he’ll lose customers if he doesn’t match the competition.

“They’ve got to go for high volume just to keep things going,” he said. “But nobody is gaining. Nobody is going to gain. You’re getting more people coming in, but you’re making less money.”

While dealers hoped to recoup lost profits at their service bays or through sales of candy bars or Megabucks tickets, motorists enjoyed the windfall.

“It’s great for us,” said Charlene Paquette of Portland, who topped off her tank at Bob’s Mini Mart.

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