Why high gas prices actually hurt gas station owners’ profits

Gas prices could continue to increase

We’ve told the “gas story” 100 ways -- but one thing we haven’t done recently is talking to a station owner.

WARREN, Mich. – Gas prices. They affect all of us, right?

I can’t believe how high the prices are and I’ve heard from so many of you who are simply fed up.

We’ve told the “gas story” 100 ways -- but one thing we haven’t done recently is talking to a station owner.

Well, that is easier said than done. I spent an afternoon stopping by many local stations asking station owners to talk with me on camera.

How are the prices affecting them? What do they think? I was told “no” over and over. Here’s why: Many customers blame the station owners.

The reality is they have almost nothing to do with the price you see posted on the big board. Sure they can drop or add a few pennies but that’s about all.

Then, I met Vic Hiter. He owns a station on 8 Mile Road in Warren. Hiter knows customers are upset but he’s upset, too. He agreed to talk because he wanted to share his side of this story and I found it fascinating.

I assumed gas stations were making big money right now. Not the case. They make the most profit selling items in their stores but right now people don’t have extra cash. They’re dropping all their dough in their tank.

I really appreciated Hiter’s honesty. He’s a local guy and he cares about his loyal customers. I also know some of these station owners have been receiving threats from people angry about these prices. Again, the station owners don’t control the numbers that much.

We go into greater detail in my report, but I wanted to share a bit of the back story here and let you know from the customer to the owner everyone is affected. It may make you approach the owner/manager at the counter a bit differently next time you fill up.

If you can spare a few bucks try to support their adjacent stores/convenience shops it’s really where they make any profit which is used to help pay the staff and maintain the building.

I know these prices are very concerning and frustrating. I hope this story helps shed some light on the numbers.

The highest-ever recorded price for a gallon of gas in Michigan reached $5.223 on June 11. Diesel reached its highest price on June 22 at $5.960 a gallon. Some insiders predict gas prices could be even closer to $6 by the Fourth of July.

Watch the full report in the video player above.


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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.