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The specter of $5 per gallon gas has been something that's worried transportation experts and commuters all summer. No one imagined it might be even worse.

Dozens of gas stations along the Eastern seaboard opened Wednesday advertising prices north of $8 per gallon. One station in Kinnelon, N.J. was selling gas at $9.03 per gallon and several in the greater Philadelphia area were advertising it at $9.99.

Consumers, at least for now, can rest easy. The rapid price increases weren't widespread – they were part of a protest staged by Lukoil franchises against rising costs implemented by their parent company, Lukoil North America. Approximately 57 gas stations joined the protest.

Franchisees told media outlets that the company is charging them higher-than-market prices that they, in turn, must pass along to consumers. One dealer told ABC News the practice has cost him half his business in recent months.

"We are doing this because we are dying," said Khaled Kezbari, who owns three Lukoil stations in New Jersey. "How can you compete? You cannot compete in the market like that."

He said that other costs have slowly been transferred from the parent company to the franchises in recent years, and that credit-card usage has also eroded his profit margins.

The protest was coordinated by the New Jersey Gas Convenience Automotive Association, a trade association that represents approximately 1,500 station owners in the Garden State. By state law, stations cannot change their prices more than one time per day. Prices are expected to be back at competitive levels Thursday.

In a written response to the protests, Lukoil North America, a subsidiary of Russian oil giant OAO Lukoil, said, "The NJCGA's efforts appear aimed at zone pricing, a commercially reasonable practice used by gasoline marketers for many years, which is fully compliant with New Jersey statues governing the sale of motor fuel."

Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached at peter.bigelow@teamaol.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 102 Comments
      danwat1234
      • 2 Years Ago
      Vehicles these days are overpowered. Stop buying gas guzzlers and instead buy fast hybrid cars that have good power on demand (via electric motors) and great mileage.
        sadiemae1214
        • 2 Years Ago
        @danwat1234
        RIGHT! I'll just go in the back yard and pick some money off my tree !
          mac2jr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sadiemae1214
          You got one of those too.. Actually, if you were smart you would have planted trees that provided fruits or nuts or sap, and then sold its products.. I knew a guy that cut down over 100 15 year old walnut trees, he thought each was Sumac
        items17070
        • 2 Years Ago
        @danwat1234
        lol, hybrids are a SCAM, there are plenty of normal gasoline cars getting 35 to 42mpg!
        Mark
        • 2 Years Ago
        @danwat1234
        This is not about hybrid cars and you can park that prius where you sit !!!! This is about the gouging of the public for the price of gas ! It is about 75 cents a gallon in Argentina, 55 cents a gallon in Saudi Arabia, and about $1.75 cents a gallon in Mexico !! so why is it so much higher here ?? Especially in California !! We should protest out loud, hold up signs, and strike service stations that charge higher prices than other station, like across the street, by interstates, and busy roads, or in inner city locations !! We should be willing to BOYCOTT and NOT buy gas for ENTIRE WEEKENDS FOR A WHOLE MONTH !! We should be willing to protest and get locked up for a couple of hours, MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD AND BE SEEN BY THE LOCAL TELEVISION STATIONS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS WHO ARE A PART OF THIS TO START WITH !!!! PROSTEST and WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR CONGRESS PERSONS, be willing to speak out on the injustice of it all !!!!! IT IS ONLY GREED BY BIG OIL COMPANIES AND BIG BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT !!! THAT IS THE CAUSE OF IT ALL !!!! REMEMBER WHEN GAS WAS OVER $4 PER GALLON, AND AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IT WENT DOWN TO ABOUT $2.50 A GALLON ?? WHY IS THAT ??? WHY DID IT NOT STAY THERE OR GO EVEN LOWER ?? GREED MY FRIENDS, SIMPLY GREED !!!
          Mark
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mark
          CORRECTION......... IT IS ONLY ABOUT 15 CENTS A GALLON IN ARGENTINA !!!
          mac2jr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mark
          Go to Canada, Europe, or some of the African Countries where gasoline ranges from $7.50 to $14 or more per gallon... Is it greed or Supply and Demand, is it greed or shipping cost, is it greed or refinery cost, is it greed or drilling cost, is it greed or dealer's cost of business, is it greed or government taxation for roads and bridges, is it greed or .....
        mac2jr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @danwat1234
        I love my Hummmmmmmmmmerrrrrrrr.. People went nuts in the last ten years, especially families that are 'protecting' their children by buying an SUV... Yep, that was the excuse ...
      • 2 Years Ago
      rawon9 you need to learn basic math, most gas stations make .07 a gallon on gas so if they sell it for 3.07 a gallon it cost them 3.00 if they take credit cards they have to pay a 2-3% fee to accept that card so 3% of $3.07 is just over $.09 how much money did they make?
        Mark
        • 2 Years Ago
        Lets see how much they made on the items sold inside the store first, such as cigarrettes, soft drinks, bread, milk, and anything else they sell at inflated prices to make up the difference and to profit from, and then tell me why a gas station owner would purchase gas from a company that gouges him, when he can buy it from a cheaper source !! Big city gas stations always charge more !! For instance in Louisville, Ky gas is on avergae about $3.89 per gallon, more if near an interstate, or major business street or in the downtown area, and then if you drive south for a meer 20 miles or so, gas it on average about $3.39 per gallon, why is that ??? PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT TO ME AND EVERYONE ELSE HERE !!!!!
          mac2jr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mark
          Price of land, rents, and labor
      • 2 Years Ago
      its a shame i think everyone should boycott for a day stay off the roads and dont buy gas
        Mark
        • 2 Years Ago
        YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO THAT EVERY WEEK THEN !! THESE OIL COMPANIES ARE AND HAVE BEEN RIPPING US OFF FOR MANY DECADES NOW !! YES, DECADES !! THEY PASS ON THE HIGH PRICE TO THE STATION, WHO THEN PASSES IT ON TO US WITH A PRICE HIKE SO THEY CAN PROFIT FROM IT, AND IF YOU WANT TO SAY THAT IS NOT TRUE, THEN LOOK AT SAME NAME GAS STATIONS IN ANY CITY, SUCH AS BP, IF IT IS NEAR A MAJOR STREET, OR HIGHWAY, THEN THE PRICE OF GAS IS UP 10 TO 25 CENTS A GALLON FROM THE NEAR NEIGHBORHOOD STATIONS !! THE GAS IS ALWAYS HIGHER NEAR AN INTERSTATE SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THAT LOCATION, AND NOTHING MORE !!! IT LIKE THE CITY OF SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY, THEY CHARGE A 2% ADDITIONAL TAX ON FAST FOOD, AND RESTAURANTS AND CALL IT A TOURIST TAX, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO TOURIST ATTRACTION ANY WHERE NEAR THERE, ONLY THE I-65 INTERSTATE, AND THAT IS ANOTHER RIP OFF TO THE PUBLIC !! THE NEARBY CITY OF LOUISVILLE, KY HAS MANY TOURIST ATTRACTIONS, AND DO NOT CHARGE THE TAX AT ALL !!!! THIS IS THE CHOICE OF THE GREEDY CITY GOVERNMENT OF SHEPHERDSVILLE !!! I DO NOT SUGGEST ANYONE GO THERE FOR GAS OR FOOD AS BOTH ARE HIGHER THAN ANYWHERE ELSE !!!
        jkprblmslvrs
        • 2 Years Ago
        Name the day!! i'm in.
      NKS55S
      • 2 Years Ago
      The mayjor corporations and Unions in America own the White House SO CALLED PUBLIC SERVANTS through lobbying super pack moneys that buys them entitlements to manipulate American people like in third world countrys.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree that these station owners (and the customers) get screwed. If politicians really wanted to help, they could temporarily lower the taxes on gas. But that's totally out of the question, of course.
        items17070
        • 2 Years Ago
        YUP! GREED WILL NOT ALLOW IT!
        mac2jr
        • 2 Years Ago
        If they lower the taxes on gasoline it only increases the taxes we will pay elsewhere, the roads and bridges still have to get fixed, patrolled, and cleaned of junk and snow.
      Phil Collins
      • 2 Years Ago
      Soon America will look like Vietnam - bikes and motor scooters everywhere and I am hanging on to my Rikshaw for a rainy day.
      denny.e1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Iam not afraid to voice my opinion and suffer the conseqence.. Let me see that **** any where I live . Even if I moved to the place where it is going on . I will be among the many if not the only, to burn that MF to the ground. You Bitches in control that make the well off better, but the strugling , daily, worst offf. I will not be a ,AFRICAN AMERICAN, causing a riot for **** I asked for. Then justify it by blaiming a piece of **** white trash cop for it. I will not be a towel garbed 3rd world animal and do the **** we all know they do . But, in an honest way, IF YOU KEEP HOLDING ME DOWN WITH YOUR FOOT ON MY NECK???? I WILL BE THE ONE AMONGST MANY TO TAKE THIS MF DOWN IN FLAMES...AND MAYBE A REBIRTH OF CIVIL THINKING, OF THE NEXT PERSON , A REAL FREE SOCIETY WILL EVOLVE.. But I doubt that too... Human nature allows the ones that can navigate through the laws power and fortune. And it also tells us that history repeats itself... So keep pushing controlers of mankind.... You may come out on top in the long run or just for now. But, MAYBE NOT. In either case Iam not one to lay down for injustice. And this aint no muslim BS. This is real AMERICAN , STUFF.... I have alot of **** against me but, I keep moving on. Working and trying... Iam a true AMERICAN... Odds against me or not I do the right thing. Do that and make it impossible. Make us a 3rd world with that BS.... I will not lay down and die as a human , an AMERICAN, as a man. I will act, just like the primative idiots over seas and in our ghettos...You wont put me any lower . So SS , spot me out. Tail me. I do nothing wrong in any way. Iam a man , not an animal. And big money , government wont keep me from the pursuit of happiness. Even if it kills me.....
      wlouche
      • 2 Years Ago
      Obama delivered on that promise.
      AL-Concetta
      • 2 Years Ago
      It all amounts to nothing but GREED on the supplyers part on the station owenrs. As long as the gas prices remain at the present level this economy will never recover.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AL-Concetta
        I have been saying that very same thing for years. I have been in the industrial supply businesss for 23 years and when the gas prices go way up, business instantly drops off. When gas prices are at an affordable level businesses thrive. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that gas/fuel prices have the larget effect on the economy!
      elpmlp
      • 2 Years Ago
      We are pumping more oil today than ever. NO THA NKS to President Obama even though he takes credit. He has put the brakes on federal land and property oil exploration to a large extent. The only reason we are pumping more is due to private concerns and states like North Dakota that have thumbed their nose at Obama and the feds. Oh and Obama takes credit for the auto industry turnaround. The program began under President Bush. And lest we forget Ford never sucked on the public tit. While GM bondholders have been royally screwed by the feds and Obama. Chrysler is doing well because of the management in place, not anything due to Obama. Hiopefully enough people wake up to see the real truth.
        Paul
        • 2 Years Ago
        @elpmlp
        The oil company EXPORTS are at record HIGHS.
        DRW trading co.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @elpmlp
        well after 4 years you still got your head where the sun don't shine if mcain would have won you wouldn't have a job to go to a and 10 a gallon gas to get you there i say you need to WAKE UP
      Alan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pity us poor slobs in the middle class. Under Obama, gas has more than doubled, food staples have risen in some cases by 50% and more, my healthcare costs have gone up, and my house is still worth 25% less than what I paid for it. But the unions, those on welfare and the gays are happy. So thats all that matters.
      Hello Walter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Remember when 3 1/2 years ago gas was approx 185 a gallon.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hello Walter
        It was 185 a Barrel not a gallon.
          mac2jr
          • 2 Years Ago
          Right, but if a barrel hold 44 gallons, then at $185 / 44 = $4.20 per gallon, and we got their in I believe 2005..
          sadiemae1214
          • 2 Years Ago
          Gasoline isn't sold by the barrel, crude oil is. Like I told Walter, the national average price of a gallon of gas in 2009 was $2.35. The highest price of a barrel of crude oil according to the stock exchange was $79.36 on December 31, 2009.
        sadiemae1214
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hello Walter
        In 2009, the National average price of a gallon of gas was $2.35.
          mac2jr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sadiemae1214
          Go back a few years, it hit $4.25 to $5.25 per gallon in most of the USA.
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