SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Drivers might be in for a shock Wednesday at the price of gas at some stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
More than 50 independent Lukoil gas station owners are raising prices to more than $8 a gallon for 24 hours to protest what they call unjustified pricing policies by the company.
WCBS 880′s Sean Adams reports
Some franchise owners claim they are being gouged by the company, saying they are forced to pay anywhere from 5 to 20 cents more per gallon than their competitors — higher prices they are then forced to pass on to customers.
“They’re charging us sky-high prices, so we need to charge the consumer sky-high prices. We’re not being very competitive,” said Lukoil station manager Khalid Zackria. “How are you going to survive if they don’t give you the customer flow of business coming in with the right price on the street?”
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience Automotive Association said Lukoil’s pricing policies have caused some franchise owners to lose more than 50 percent of their business.
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“Enough is enough,” Zackria said. “These prices are outrageous. Help out the dealers, let us survive.”
Attendants are handing out fliers to customers and hanging banners explaining why they are raising prices for one day. Owners hope a dramatic dose of sticker shock puts the pressure on Lukoil to backtrack.
“We’re taking a big hit,” said Zackria.
Lukoil Corporation is a publicly traded, Russian-owned company and one of the largest oil producers in the world.
Late Wednesday morning, Lukoil issued a statement saying the protest is “…aimed at zone pricing, a commercially reasonable practice used by gasoline markets for many years, which is fully compliant with New Jersey statutes.”
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