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Local Gas Station Chain Posts 34 Percent Jump In Profits

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SANFORD, N.C. — When gas prices go up, consumers aren't just helping gas stations cover higher costs. In some cases, consumers are padding the companies' profits.

One example is The Pantry, which is based in Sanford. It's the largest independently owned convenience store chain in the southeast.

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    The company has made $65 million in profit this latest quarter. That's 34 percent higher than at this time last year.

    The company's CEO, Peter Sodini, spoke with WRAL by phone. He admitted the chain is in business to make money, and he downplays the profits.

    Sodini said construction costs and utility bills are up. He also urged drivers to look at the big picture, not just at one successful quarter.

    However, drivers like Don Bollinger are still having sticker shock.

    "It feels like they're really taking advantage of us," said Bollinger.

    "I think that they're just using the consumers," said driver Larry Murchison. "I think that they're just using all the people that come out to buy gas."

    The big oil companies have earned billions during the last three months.

    Exxon, Shell, BP and Conoco Phillips took home $30 billion in profits combined. That kind of money would put $100 in the pocket of every U.S. citizen, both children and adults.


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