Many gas stations throughout the State have been using a misleading tactic to display their gas prices. You probably already know what I’m talking about by that sentence alone. If you haven’t noticed, many stations also feature a car wash option when filling your tank. There’s nothing wrong with providing a car wash at a gas station, but misleading the public about the actual price is quite unprofessional and downright dirty. Michigan gas is already expensive enough, we don’t need the oil companies misleading us to pad their bank accounts even further.
I will use the example of two gas stations located on the corner of Jolly and Okemos Rd. near the highway ramp. This is a high traffic area for our town and there are 2 gas stations which sit kitty corner to each other and are super competitive with each other. There is a Marathon gas station which offers a car wash and a Sunoco gas station which doesn’t provide any car washes. The marathon thought it would clever by giving drivers a discount if they get a car wash. I have absolutely no problem with them providing a discount, but posting the discounted price as the unleaded price is certainly intended to mislead and create higher profits by using a questionable tactic. The competition (Sunoco station) was getting beat up because all these drivers thought they were getting cheaper gas across the street. I don’t know for sure, but I assume this tactic by Marathon was severely slowing down their business. It turns out it wasn’t cheaper at the Marathon station, actually its almost always more expensive. So what did Sunoco to do? Build a car-wash to compete? Nope! They made a sign displaying how much cheaper their gas is than the Marathon across the street. I find it ridiculous that they are allowed to pull such misleading tactics. This story just shows you how dishonest these gas/oil companies really are, and they would rather mislead the public instead of providing a quality service/product like the rest of the country.
Michigan residents don’t have to worry about this problem any longer! A new law was passed last month which impacts how gas stations display various gas prices. You may wonder why some of these signs are still displaying the discounted price…. The law is already in effect, but stations have up to one year to comply to the new standards. Companies can still post discounted prices on their display, but the conditions must be at least half the size of the actual print displaying the price. While this law won’t impact the actual prices of gasoline, it should definitely give you a fair display to judge different gas prices.
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