In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, over 50 Lukoil gas stations jacked up their prices to over $8 per gallon as a protest that claims unfair pricing practices by Lukoil North America. The protest was organized to raise consumer awareness regarding challenges faced by dealers for Lukoil and to get the company to respond, according to Sal Risalvato. Risalvato is from the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association.
Risalvato claims that Lukoil forces dealers to pay higher rates for fuel than competitors make their dealers pay. Lukoil claims that the protests are focused on ‘zone pricing,’ which is prices based on what is occurring in specific markets. Lukoil said that the practice is ‘commercially reasonable’ that complies with state laws.
The stations involved in the protest were going to give customers fliers about the protest and ask them to contact Lukoil about the pricing.
“They essentially sell the very same gasoline to stations in close proximity of each other at different prices in order to game the market and compete with other gasoline brands,” Risalvato said. “In doing so, the price may differ by as much as 25 cents a gallon, and place one retailer and the retailer’s customers at an enormous disadvantage over another station. No matter what the market conditions are on a particular day, Lukoil’s prices are higher than just about every retail competitor.”