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    Speedway Races Ahead with Prices Despite Complaints

    Owner of Michigan station denies accusations of gouging.

    Consumers complained to the Detroit Free Press that Speedway gas stations across Michigan have been charging much more than others in the area -- as much as 22 cents a gallon.

    Other stations in the area -- Mobil, BP and Sunoco -- had prices ranging from $2.93 to $2.99 a gallon on Tuesday, but the local Speedway listed prices at $3.04, a decrease from the $3.15 price listed earlier, the report stated.

    Speedway officials deny any wrong-doing. Angela Graves, director of public affairs for Speedway's operator Marathon Petroleum Co., told the Detroit Free Press "That is not the case and I wouldn't say Speedway is always the leader in pricing." She added, "The retail gasoline industry is very competitive and we offer a product day in and day out that consumers want. But margins are very low in this business. This is a much broader issue than just one station in a particular market."

    Graves cited the rising price for crude oil and declining capacity for petroleum in the gulf coast due to hurricanes as the reason for the spike is gas prices.

    "Speedway does an analysis of their costs and margins for gasoline several times a day and after the weekend, they determined that there was a need to increase their price due to low margins," Graves said.

    But local resident and television repair technician Joseph Nowicki III, has another theory for the gas price fluctuations.

    "Speedway is basically hiking their gas prices early in the week and then dropping then down a bit by the weekend to make it look like they are the cheaper brand." He added, "My father and I have noticed it for the last couple of years."

    Marathon Oil Co. operates more than 300 Speedway stations in Michigan alone. Marathon, based in Findlay, Ohio, is the nation's fifth-largest refiner, with 974,000 barrels-per-day capacity in its seven-refinery system. The company's retail marketing system includes approximately 5,400 locations in 17 states.

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