As we all have noticed, gas prices have been rising significantly. However there are a lot of factors that go into the price of oil. There is a lot of manipulation by Wall Street that goes into the prices of gasoline, which can lead to the quick changes in prices. There is also competition in the market. If one station lowers their price, the station across the street will too so that they customers will still come to their station. The hardest thing about this for consumers is that they can't really avoid buying gas. If you need to fill up your tank there are no substitutes. Sure you can go to the station down the street that is a penny cheaper because of the competition in the market, but you can't fill up your tank with water or peanut butter.
I also thought it was interesting that there is so little profit for stations on gasoline. Instead they want to draw customers inside to purchase beverages and snacks. It never occurred to me that the lowest priced gas station could also make a profit this way. If you lose a penny per gallon on gasoline to draw customers in but then sell the customer two sodas and a bag of chips, you are going to make more money than you would have with a higher price of gasoline. It's also interesting that shop owners realize this and are willing to take the chance that people might just buy gasoline. However if they don't take that risk they may end up with much lower profits. If gas prices continue to rise I think it will be interesting to see if consumers continue to purchase goods inside the convenience store, or if they feel the need to cut back because of the high prices at the pump and to see if this also has an effect on gas prices.