Competition, not gouging to explain for gas price differences across Stateline

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ROCKFORD (WREX) – Are Rockford gas stations charging too much for gasoline? That’s the question some viewers asked 13 WREX to Dig Deeper into.

A viewer on Facebook sent WREX a message in part saying, “…Isn’t it unethical that gas is over $2.50 a gallon in Rockford when it’s under $2 a gallon 10 minutes away in Belvidere and in other towns in the suburbs? Isn’t charging 57 cents more a gallon price gouging?”

Here’s what we found out.

Tuesday and Wednesday in the morning, several gas stations in Belvidere were selling gas as low as $1.89, including the BP on Logan Ave., while over in Rockford no stations had any gas below two dollars.

Maps on Gas Buddy show overall, Rockford’s prices are higher than Belvidere’s. The heat map shows Rockford is in the orange, which is on the higher end of the price spectrum, while Belvidere is on the lower end with light green. The question is why?

We spoke with the senior petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy, Patrick DeHaan, who says this isn’t a case of price gouging but rather a case of competition.

“A lot of those stations that were selling at $1.91 or even lower, at a $1.89 have been selling gas at a loss,” said DeHaan. “The price of oil this week has shot up from $50 to about $54.”

DeHaan went on to say that our particular area can have stiff competition, and it’s likely one station in Belvidere dropped its prices first and others followed.

“I don’t know who necessarily started it but i would have called it a little bit of a price war,” said DeHaan.

What that means is Rockford was priced right, while Belvidere was priced far below the going rate. That isn’t the case anymore though. As of Wednesday afternoon, all of Belvidere’s gas stations were selling for above $2. If you filled up for less than that, you got a steal.

If you have a story you’d like us to Dig Deeper into, email us at diggingdeeper@wrex.com

Gas Prices Explainer
Kristin Crowley

Kristin Crowley

Evening News Anchor

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