LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Would you like to fill up at $3.49 a gallon? This price is nearly unbeatable right now. It’s right inside the Ohio state line along Route 224 at Morgan Oil. We talked with the owner about how he’s able to do it while most other stations are at $3.99 or higher.
The tanks were full Thursday morning at Morgan Oil — 20,000 gallons of gasoline, which owner Mike Kassem had bought for $3.34 a gallon. He’s only charging $3.49.
“Tanks is full, and then the prices are $3.49 today and tomorrow, hopefully,” Kassem said.
The line of cars was steady. Kassem says drivers pump between 8,000 and 12,000 gallons a day.
The gas tax changes at the state line — advantage Ohio. Many Ohio stations buy based on the Chicago market price while Pennsylvania might buy based on the New York price. But Kassem, he can buy from either one.
“When you pay a high price, your prices have to be higher. However, I could buy from anywhere which is the cheapest and I could pass it on to my customers,” Kassem said.
Branded stations have to buy their gas from certain places and at certain prices, which makes a difference.
Kassem believes supply and demand should play a bigger role in gas prices, that there’s too much speculation and manipulation in the market.
“I always [an] independent thinker. I don’t like to sign contract with anybody,” Kassem said.
Kassem knows drivers get frustrated but he also knows that gasoline is important, and it’s an important part of his business.
“The gasoline is like a bait, you get the fish in,” Kassem said.
He needs the line of drivers to buy gas but he also needs them to be aware that Morgan Oil has more to offer inside.
“My fee here, credit card fees is almost $25,000 a month. So that’s coming inside, that’s where the margin is. It’s a higher margin, and then it keeps the business going,” Kassem said.
Morgan Oil has been just inside the state line for three years, and there’s another location in Struthers.
Kassem was anxious to see what the new gas price would be at 5 p.m. Thursday, before he would make his next purchase.