It’s not gouging. But it is a fact some stations take advantage of stupid people. For example there is a station near my work in the “Up Town” section of Dallas that has regular for 3.99.9/10 A station down the street the price is 3.74.9/10. So it’s not gouging just taking advantage of stupid people.
Who runs the 3.99 station and who runs the 3.74? I have seen a Shell station sell .10-.20 higher than a Valero across the street because the Shell operator had to set the price that he was told while the general manager at the Valero had control over his pricing. It is a reason why many of the what was the big name retailers are going out of business. QT, Racetrack and Valero are cleaning everybody’s clock. Retailers make anywhere from .03-.09 per gallon in profit. Subtract .06 per gallon from that if a credit/debit card is used.
See that same situation a lot around here in Northern VA. Usually depends on how close the service station is to I-95. Generally, the further away, the lower the price. I figure the ones just off of the interstate are adding a little for the “convenince” for drivers looking for a quick pitstop on the way through.
As for the price gouging mentioned in the original post, its hard to tell. With the price of a barrel of oil bumping up the way it is on a daily basis, the service station owners (who are just one notch above us on the dirty end of the stick) have to be experiencing the same concerns we are: they’ve got to make enough on the fuel they are selling now to pay for their next delivery.