• May 11, 2007

Perhaps it's not just gasoline users that oil companies are squeezing -- station owners might be locked in the vice as well. Bob Oyster, a Shell station owner in San Francisco, is making a statement to Shell and to his customers to let them know what he thinks of it.

To hear Bob tell it, Shell has made it impossible to stay in business. After owning his station for 22 years, he's returning it to Shell at the end of the month. Shell charges him more for gas in San Francisco than in other parts of the Bay, where he also owns stations, but won't let him buy gas anywhere else. They have also raised his rent by leaps and bounds. Five years ago he fought to keep his rent at $6,000 per month based on real estate values, when Shell wanted $13,000. This year they again requested $13K. Shell says that's what the market is worth. Oyster says "I got fed up." What did he do? He raised his gas prices to well over $4 a gallon, and ever since, he hardly sees a customer.

"It makes a statement," he said, "and I guess when people see that price they also see the Shell sign right next to it." Like other independent owners, Oyster makes his money off the convenience store extras, but his lot is so small he doesn't have room for much other than candy and cigarettes. He believes oil companies are trying to squeeze out the independents, but Shell says most of its stations are independently-owned and that that number is increasing. "I'm going out with a bang,'' says Oyster. "And I don't care if I don't pump a gallon on the last day.'' And he probably won't: the Chevron across the street sells gas for 70 cents less.

Thanks for the tip, Mike!

[Source: SF Gate]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      kudos to the station owner. i'm glad someone took a closer look at the situation, i was guilty of blaming the franchise owner too... until i read the story.

      i guess i should re-direct that hate towards the Shell.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "It cost me 10.00 more this week to fill up, that's 40.00 a month. If you're that close in your budget, something is wrong with your budget."

      Uh, do you think most people spend $40 a month on gas? Commuters spend more than that in one week.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "That is pure right wing fantasy. Unless you mean then we would be free to attack and occupy more oil rich countries. Of course all that does is give control of those fields to companies that contributed to right wing candidates. Those companies profit, our gas prices stay regulated(which allows for manipulated prices and massive profits), and auto companies can continue making land barges for soccer moms and guys with inferiority complexes who shout 'liberals suck' from the top of their lungs."

      That's the most commonly thrown around farce about Bush, the Republicans, etc.

      The US doesn't need to invade countries to get more oil. To think that US went into Iraq for oil is being oblivious to the oil market.

      1) Iraq makes 2.5 million bpd (barrels per day)
      2) Iraq prior to invasion made 3-3.5 million bpd, meaning oil output actually reduced
      3) US turned down oil from Nigeria for humanitarian reasons, which churns out 2.25 million bpd.
      4) US refuses to buy oil from Iran, which produces 4 million bpd--more than Iraq.

      So if all US wanted was oil, they could've signed agreements with Iran, Nigeria, continued trading with Iraq, giving themselves access to up to 9.25 million barrels per day. Instead, "oil-hungry" US is content to only get the 2.5 million barrels of oil from Iraq right now. Sorry, if you think US is in there for oil then you'd need to do a little more reading.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If he's paying Shell rent, then he's a lessee, not an "owner", and his landlord can charge him what the market will bear. As for charging a higher price for gas and not allowing him to buy from different suppliers, he should consult an attorney, because I thought that became illegal sometime back in the 1980s. Then again, the current administration has been a lot more lenient than most about enforcing antitrust laws against megacorporations. Props to him for finding a creative way to fight back, however.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Oyster?.. and he's employed by "Shell".
      Seriously, is that his real name?
      No Joke?
      :)
      • 7 Years Ago
      bitchy greedy oil companies. hybrids rule!
      • 7 Years Ago
      imagine if any of you lived in Europe where gas is ~$6-7/gal.

      just buy a smaller car with 29-35mpg fuel economy and stop complaining. what's the reason you dirve a F150 or Silverado or Tundra or Titan, or Suburban, or you get the point by now

      we make the most money and pay the least for gas, so we still have a ways to go to the $6/gal average i forsee in a few years, unless osmeone discovers a new oil field.
      far jr
      • 7 Years Ago
      One bright spot within the cloud of higher gas prices is the fact that alternative fuel sources (electric, bio-diesel, ethanol, and hydrogen) will be more at the front of a consumers mind. These high prices will also allow the alternatives to gain traction in the market as infrastructure is built and they struggle for a piece of the pie.

      If you live in the midwest, buy a flexfuel vehicle as ethanol is readily avaliable in many areas. Buy the cheaper of the two fuel sources or just buy the E85 to encourage its foothold in the market as a competitor to oil. If you drive a diesel, search for bio-diesel vendors in your area. Not only will you be helping to spur competition, you will be keeping more money in American pockets rather than giving it to OPEC. Many consumers have choices if we really want them. When is the last time you told your gas station owner you would like to see them offer E-85 or bio-diesel?

      If you are not fortunate enough to have bio-fuels in your area, search out the smaller oil companies and buy from them instead of the giants. This will at least help them get to a competitive level with the big guys! As much as Americans spend on gasoline, they should take the time to educate themselves about the companies. Surf the web and suport who you wish.

      Shell (huge company from Hague Netherlands)
      BP/Amoco (huge company from Britain)
      Exxon (huge company from Irving, Texas)
      Chevron/Texaco(huge company from San Ramon, California)
      Citgo (Venezuela and Hugo Chavez)
      LUKoil (Russia)
      TOTAL/Fina/ELF (France)
      PetroCanada (Calgary, Alberta)
      Imperial Oil/ Esso (Calgary, Alberta)
      Marathon/Ashland/Speedway (Houston, Texas)
      Sunoco (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
      Flying J (Ogden, Utah)
      Hess (New York, New York)
      Conoco/ Phillips (Houston, Texas)
      Sinclair (Salt Lake City, Utah)
      Crown (Baltimore, Maryland)


      • 7 Years Ago
      What? Oil companies manipulate gas prices? Whodathunkit. The only REAL question here is why we let them get away with it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "$10 bil profit on $100 billion revenue is pretty amazing."

      no, not it's not. it's not that amazing at all. Most well-run companies make 20-30% profits in an average year. In my company, for example, we did 12 million euros of business in FY2006, and we had 3 million euros of profit. And it wasn't even a spectacular year.

      don't let the numbers blind you. just because it's in the billions, doesn't mean the oil companies are robbing you blind. $10 billion of profit on $100 billion of business is not that amazing. it's solid, but nothing to brag about (the profitability, not the actual number)
      • 7 Years Ago
      > I'm scratching my head and wondering why the govt
      > can't intervene on ConnocoPhilippe and Exxonmobil
      > to stop the price gouging.

      This book explains it pretty well:

      http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Economics-Citizens-Guide-Economy/dp/046508138X

      See chapter 3 in particular.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ARE YOU ALL FUCKING STUPID?
      IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY, THE MORE MONEY THESE FAT OLD MEN MAKE THE MORE THEY WANT.
      IT NEVER ENDS.
      WHILE IT MAY NOT BE THE RIGHT THING, AS LONG AS THEY CAN DO IT THEY WILL.
      ONLY WAY TO GET BACK AT THEM IS TO STOP BUYING GAS, OR WE ALL DRIVE THOSE STUPID LITTLE SMART CARS, AND BLEED THEM SLOWLY TO DEATH.
      BUT THE QUESTION IS CAN YOUR FAT ASS DO THAT?
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