ORLEANS COUNTY - Many area residents are still filling their gas tanks at between $3.60 and $3.80 a gallon, give or take. However, at least two area gas stations are selling fuel at below the local average.
The Troy Country Store, as of Tuesday morning, was selling unleaded regular gas at $3.44 a gallon while the cash price at the Jay Country Store is $3.36.
So how do they do it?
“We reduce the margins,” explained John Dennison, owner of the Troy Country Store. “We make a little bit less, but sell a lot more.” Dennison was referring to gas and to the products he sells inside the store.
Many people are making a special trip to buy gas, which always happens where there is huge price difference between his station and others. Some Newport area stations are slower at decreasing their prices, Dennison said.
“We follow the market,” he said. “When the market goes down, we go down.”
Lowering prices has been “very” successful for Dennison.
“We keep our prices low every day,” said Dennison. “That’s been our philosophy for the five years we’ve owned this store.”
The Troy Country Store has catered to local residents for many years. Dennison said it’s nice to have tourists, but the locals are the ones who help through thick and thin. Dennison said his store has the lowest prices on a variety of items inside.
“We buy right on the market,” said Jeff Dezotell, general manager of the Jay Country Store. He declined to elaborate. “I don’t want to tell everybody else how to do what we do well.”
Dezotell said other stations have to follow his lead in order to remain competitive. His station has had the one of the lowest if not the lowest gas prices for much of the spring, despite being close to Jay Peak Resort.
Lower gas prices means more commerce for other Jay area businesses because some people who make the trek to buy gas make it an outing for the day or evening.
The markup on gas is not as high as one may think, Dezotell said, but he declined to elaborate.
According to a 2009 Smartmoney.com article, stations earn an average of 10 to 15 cents per gallon of gas. However, the higher gas prices are, the less the station makes, states the article. Gas stations also have to pay fees when customers use credit cards.