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SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Those looking to anticipate the next overall change in Midwest gas prices should look to Speedway SuperAmerica. The Enon, Ohio-based chain frequently sets the pace by being the first to increase or decrease fuel prices, followed by smaller chains and independent gas stations, according to a Springfield News-Sun report.
"We do find in a number of markets where there are dominant retailers, they will increase prices significantly and other competitors will follow," said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, which reportedly calls the phenomenon the "Speedway effect."
Speedway, which operates 1,371 gas stations in seven states, sold approximately $2.9 billion worth of fuel last year, according to parent company Marathon Petroleum in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. With gas prices on the rise, the rate at which Speedway increases its prices "will be a factor for the other guy down the street," Ray Keyton, president and chief executive of AAA Miami Valley, told the news outlet.
Aziz Fkhar, manager of Springfield's Mini Mart and Fuel America, confirmed that he uses Speedway and suggestions from his gas supplier to finalize his gas prices. "We try to match [Speedway] because they are the largest and they try to be the lowest," said Fkhar. "If we can match them, we can take some customers, too." However, other factors, including weather, must also be taken into account.
While Speedway did not comment specifically on its role as pacesetter, company spokesperson Shane Pochard stated that the retailer analyzes all the markets in which it conducts business and prices its products accordingly. "Our goal is to provide consumers with best possible fuel at (the) best possible price," said Pochard. "Whatever independent marketers do to decide, I can't say."