As gas prices start to fall in Athens, some ask why they were so high in the first place

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Gas prices in Athens were significantly higher than in surrounding areas for weeks, which had many frustrated customers wondering why.

Patrick De Haan, a national fuel price analyst with GasBuddy, offered a possible explanation: Athens stations were charging more because there was no incentive for them to lower prices.

De Hann explained that gas stations typically profit around 20 cents per gallon, but Athens stations were profiting closer to 50 cents per gallon even as wholesale prices were dropping.

Surging gasoline prices have been a main driver of inflation in recent months.
[Stefani Reynolds | AFP via Getty Images]
This raises the question of who sets these prices.

For gas stations that are individually owned, they set the prices. But at corporate-owned gas stations, prices are set by the corporations.

At a BP station in Athens, a worker said that they get an alert on what gas prices are in the area and that report goes to corporate. But when WOUB contacted BP, a spokesperson said that each location sets their own prices.

Many people were frustrated with the high prices, and a Facebook page called “Boycotting Athens Gas Stations” was created.

It gave people the ability to share gas prices in the area with other members of the group and to share their concerns. The Facebook group has more than 1,400 members and continues to grow.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson also got involved. He said he made multiple calls to the gas station’s corporate offices to try and get the prices lowered.

Patterson said he believed it’s price gouging and that these gas stations were taking advantage of the community, adding that it “really impacts those that are truly living week by week and have low-paying jobs.”

After several weeks of gas being $4.99 per gallon, prices have recently dropped. There is no explanation as to why, but members of the Athens community are certainly happy to see prices going back down.