By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers
The real winner in a price war between two Clovis gas stations is the consumer.
Regular unleaded gasoline at Town and Country and Allsup’s convenience stores on North Prince Street was priced at $2.29 per gallon Tuesday afternoon, which is 52¢ below the city average and more than 70¢ below the rest of the state, according to AAA of New Mexico.
In fact, the two stores are selling below wholesale costs, according to AAA of New Mexico. The wholesale price of gas reported by the New York Stock Exchange as of Monday was $2.27 a gallon.
The competition between the two stores located across Llano Estacado from each has been going on for several weeks, according to Dan McCurdy, director of communications for Town and Country Food Stores.
McCurdy said Allsup’s continues to lower its prices an average of 3¢ below Town and Country’s.
“In very simple terms — we’re staying competitive with our competitors. We’re not going to lose our customers because they’re offering a lower price,” McCurdy said.
He said the price competition is difficult because Town and Country is having to sell fuel at a loss.
“It’s an unfortunate thing — of course the customer is having a field day. Until somebody yells uncle it’s going to keep on going,” McCurdy said.
An Allsup’s employee referred media inquiries to the corporate office. Phone calls to the corporate office were not returned.
Becky Reeves, an administrative assistant in Clovis, was one of dozens waiting in line to take advantage of the low prices.
“I love it because gas is just too high now. The more gas wars we have, the better off everybody is.”
Reeves doesn’t understand how stations are able to drop and raise their prices so easily.
“It makes me angry that they’re able to do that. Where are they buying their gas that they can get it so much cheaper?” she asked.
Price wars in the gas world are not uncommon, according to Jeanie Chavez, a spokeswoman for AAA New Mexico.
Frustrated customers often believe retailers must be gouging prices when they have a price war, which is not always the case, she said.
In reality, she said retailers often sell at wholesale or even at a loss if they believe it will attract business.
“It’s capitalism at work. If they can lower the prices and get the customers in and still pay their bills, they can do that.”
“Everybody wants a simple answer — I wish I could give it to them,” she said.