Humboldt Gas Scam
Over many years, the price of gas at stations in Humboldt County has shown evidence of lack of competition between stations — with the exception of member only and tribal stations, the prices always seem to stay within a few pennies from Garberville to Trinidad, and that price always seems to be 25 to 40 cents higher than the competitive price in Willits.
Yes, part of the issue is that it’s a longer distance to truck gas to Humboldt than to Willits, but local gas is barged rather than trucked, and barging is more efficient and lower cost than trucking. So something is odd. Willits has forced competition thanks to a Safeway station that sells gas at low prices.
For convenience, here are links to
- current gas price reports from Willits
- current gas prices in Garberville
- current gas prices in Eureka
The various players in the local market are always saying it’s some other guy, and there are at least three layers, all of which are secretive.
First, the local Chevron terminal, which receives barged fuel from the refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Second, the local jobbers, who purchase gas via the terminal and truck it locally. Finally, the stations, some but not all of which are owned by the same entities as the jobbers.
If you have information on any part of this process, please post it here, so that we may gradually work out this puzzle. Thanks.