Monday, April 11, 2011
Most expensive gas in town
Madison Park's one-and-only gas station apparently has the dubious honor of charging the highest price for gasoline of any station in Seattle. This, according to KING-TV, which used the Shell station at the corner of E. Madison St. and Lake Washington Boulevard as the poster child for a recent story on higher gas prices. The cost of regular unleaded fuel today at the Madison Park Shell is $4.099. But since you'd never be able to actually pay that 9/10ths of a cent if you bought a single gallon, we might as well just round up and say $4.10.
Not surprisingly, for those who pay attention to such things, the geographically next-closest Shell station (located at 1701 E. Madison Street, on Capitol Hill), was today charging ten cents per gallon less for the exact same fuel. The MPB reader who pointed this story out to us said she was vexed to discover that even the stand-alone gas station in Medina (admittedly not a Shell station, so a little less of an apples-to-apples comparison) was charging only $3.95 per gallon when she drove by this morning. Shocking!
Our reader says she believes the Madison Park Shell is doing a "disservice" to the neighborhood, since other stations always seem to have much lower prices than ours. There seems to be an economic principle at work here, however, having to do with charging "what the market will bear" for your product. The Madison Park Shell (nee Texaco) has been around a long time, seems to know its audience, and doesn't appear to be failing to sell its product, though the gasoline there seems to be consistently more expensive than the close-at-hand alternatives (we haven't done a scientific survey, but the anecdotal evidence is pretty convincing).
The other principal worth noting is caveat emptor (Latin for let the buyer beware). In a legal sense, this term is usually applied to the risk of buying a product or service. As applied to buying gasoline in Madison Park, the concept might mean this: if you don't know you're paying more for the convenience of buying gas in your own neighborhood, you may end up paying more than you otherwise would. Madison Park Blogger readers (and KING-TV viewers), at least, now can make an informed decision when buying gas.
By the way, gas prices are quoted daily on GasBuddy.com, which today shows $3.69 per gallon as the cheapest price for unleaded in the Seattle area (at a Citgo station on the Eastside). KING-TV has a great map of area gas prices, based on data from GasBuddy. Madison Park is a real stand out on today's map.