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    LukOil Franchisees Protest Gas Prices

    More than 50 station operators are charging $8-plus per gallon today.

    NEWARK, N.J. -- Consumers visiting more than 50 independent LukOil gas stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are being asked to pay more than $8 per gallon for gas today. That is not an error on the part of the gas station operators. Instead, it's a 24-hour protest of what they call unjustified pricing policies by the parent company.

    LukOil franchise owners claim they are paying anywhere from 5 to 20 cents per gallon more their competitors, which they in turn must pass off to their customers.

    "They're charging us sky-high prices, so we need to charge the consumer sky-high prices. We're not being very competitive," LukOil station owner Khalid Zackria told WCBS-TV in New York. "How are you going to survive if they don't give you the customer flow of business coming in with the right price on the street?"

    A spokesperson for the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience Automotive Association told the television station that LukOil's pricing policies have caused some franchise owners to lose as much as 50 percent of their business.

    When consumers visit any of the 50 New Jersey and Pennsylvania LukOil stations today, attendants will distribute fliers explaining why the prices are higher for a day.

    Despite the protest only taking place for one day, Quick Chek Corp. is hoping to draw LukOil customers to its convenience store locations. "Lukoil customers..don't worry…we won't price gouge you…no $8.99/gallon gas here! Stop in for high quality fuel at good prices, AND grab up [sic] a cup of the NY Metro's best coffee and a tasty made-fresh-for-you breakfast sandwich or sub!" Quick Chek wrote on its Facebook page today.

    Attempts to contact LukOil for comment were unsuccessful, according to the report.

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