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Gas 50 cents cheaper on Cincy's east side: Why?

Don't Waste Your Money
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Posted at 10:33 AM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 11:16:03-04

The good news: gas prices as we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend are at an 11-year low, and have dropped sharply in just the past four days, as a result of the Brexit vote in Great Britain.

But will they still spike for the holiday weekend, as they so often do? We will know in the next 24 hours.

Why is the east side so much cheaper?

Mark Greatorex contacted 9 on Your Side after driving from Milford to the Tri-County area this week, and noticing something strange.

"Why is gas 50 cents cheaper in Milford," he asked.

We compared prices at GasBuddy.com and found he was correct. Prices in Cincinnati's east side are much lower in most cases than the west side and central area right now.

In Milford, as of Wednesday night, stations were charging as average of $2.15 for regular gas, with Meijer even lower.

But in Blue Ash, just 15 miles away, the Shell on Pfeiffer Road was charging $2.69 a gallon, more than 50 cents more!

Harrison, meantime, on the far west side of Cincinnati was almost as bad, with most stations at $2.59.

Gas Buddy says this is an extreme case of competition at work. Milford has a wealth of discount stores selling gas, including Meijer, Kroger, and Thornton's. They keep prices down (as does Walmart/Murphy USA in Florence, Kentucky, for instance).

Blue Ash and Harrison are two communities with no discount pumps, so prices remain artificially high.

Brexit Lowers Crude Oil Prices

Cincinnati area gas prices have fallen to an average of $2.29 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com after their early June jump to $2.79 a gallon in many areas.

The reasons for the drop: Crude oil fell 5 percent after the Brexit vote last Friday, while several Indiana refineries have come back online, bringing Ohio gas prices down to a level more in line with the rest of the country (Florida, Georgia and other Southern states never rose above $2.39 in the past month).

But a Holiday Means ...

Now the bad news: prices traditionally rise the Thursday before a holiday weekend, just because they can. 

Anticipating higher demand (with a record number of drivers on the road this Fourth of July), station owner groups typically raise prices 20 cents a gallon in Ohio and Kentucky. That's what happened on Memorial Day, despite low oil prices.

So if you find a station at $2.19, you might want to fill up sooner rather than later, so you don't waste your money.

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