Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DC Gas Prices (Trivia Tuesday)

There is an Exxon station at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway in Washington right next to The Watergate. Perhaps you have heard of it (Watergate, not the gas station. Actually, you have probably heard of Exxon as well). Anyway, when we drove by this station on Sunday, we noticed that the cost of regular unleaded was $3.49 per gallon. Although gas prices have steadily increased over the past few months, that amount seems really high. This is especially the case since a Chevron (I think) station almost directly across the street sells regular unleaded gasoline for $2.79 a gallon, or 70 cents less than the Exxon.

Today’s question is why is there such a disparity between the two gas stations? In addition, why would anyone go to the Exxon when they can get gas for significantly cheaper across the street?

I don’t know the answer to the first question, so if anyone who works or lives in the area can shed some light on this, they will become a Sean’s Ramblings Superstar.*

A traditional Trivia Tuesday will return next Tuesday and look for more Vegas stories soon.

* Trademark pending.


lacochran said...

I have often wondered this as well. I guess if you think Exxon's gas is a superior quality? I think gas is gas is gas. I pay the cheapest I can in the immediate area. (Today, I paid 2.75 for mid-grade.) I'd say your mileage may vary but that just seems... wrong.

nichole said...

Perhaps due to its location next to the Watergate? They get more tourists? I know that gas stations right off major highways tend to have higher gas in town because people stop for gas where it's convenient when they are traveling. Maybe the Watergate is more convenient?

ps - my captcha word was colledge. I love the almost but not quite real words.

neena said...

After living in DC for nearly 7 years and seeing the gas prices in various parts of the city, I've wondered the same thing, Sean. If I'm not mistaken, the three most expensive Exxons (or gas stations in general) are the Exxon on Rock Creek and Virginia, the Exxon on M Street at the base of the Key Bridge, and the Exxon on Massachusetts Ave. down the street from American University.

The Watergate Exxon mostly because the Watergate residents get their gas there and also because of its proximity to the Kennedy Center. The Chevron, while just across the street, is harder to get in and out of (one-way streets, have to turn right onto Rock Creek, etc). I also think that Exxon is full-service, which doesn't mean what it used to, but they still get away with adding a surcharge.

The Exxon at the end of the Key Bridge is one of the only gas stations in Georgetown and runs the monopoly there. Most of the people who live/shop in G-town are frivolous enough to buy gas at the inflated rate.

My favorite, though, is the Exxon by AU. Most people who live in that neighborhood travel to MD or to Wisconsin Ave. to get gas. But, those lovely AU students who are lucky enough to have a car purchased for them and/or a credit card bill paid for them, are also lazy enough to go to the gas station closest to them, even if they consistently charge 20 cents more per gallon.

Sean said...

lacochran - Even if I think Exxon has superior gas, I still wouldn't pay 70 cents a gallon more for it. Maybe 5 cents but not 70.

nichole - You mean colledge isn't a word? I'm going to try it the next time I play Scrabble!

neena - You are the winner and are now a Sean's Ramblings Superstar. (Actually, I think you already were a SRS.) I didn't realize that the Exxon was full-service. I did notice that the Chevron isn't easy to enter and exit but I would find a way to save at least $5.60 per fill-up.

tiny350Z said...

You guys should move out to the sticks in MD like me. I paid 2.54 the other day.

Sorry Sean, no longer a Fairfax County resident!

But yeah, Neena's points are right on the money. But usually, full service shouldn't be more than 20 cents higher than self serve. The best part about that? All NJ gas stations are full service, and gas is cheaper up there - but that's primarily b/c the fuel tax in NJ is lower.