Gas prices dip in Fuquay-Varina

Posted March 29, 2011 2:27 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2011 6:20 p.m. EDT

— Gas prices in Fuquay-Varina have been 15 to 20 cents cheaper than in nearby towns this month. Prices there have been hovering around $3.29 per gallon. 

Murphy USA fired the first shot when it opened a new station. State law allows a gas station to sell fuel below cost for two weeks after its grand opening.

"We were on our way back from Raleigh, and we knew that gas prices were cheaper here, about 20 cents cheaper than they are back our way," driver Susan Talbot, of Angier, said Tuesday as she filled up her tank at Murphy USA. "It definitely is worth going a few miles out of your way." 

Mark Monsky, an economics professor at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, said it is free market at work.

“They just want to get customers to come in, try out the gas station, change their pattern, see that there's a different level of service available. It's just an introductory offer,” Monsky said.

Nearby stations lowered their prices to compete.

"Consumers should look at this as a one-time grab offer. Go out there and get it while it lasts, but it's not going to be there for long," Monsky said.

Consumers are already seeing gas prices head back up.

Monsky said instead of spending money on advertising, some stations offer deeply discounted prices on gasoline.

An independent gas station owner told WRAL News that one of his big competitors budgets hundreds of thousands of dollars when it opens a new gas station just to undercut the competition.