Speedway's Influence

Ohio retailers follow "heavyweight's" lead on gasoline pricing

ENON, Ohio -- Speedway LLC has a great deal of influence on how much consumers throughout Ohio pay for gasoline, an analyst told The Dayton Daily News. Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com, a website that tracks gasoline prices, said when Speedway raises prices, others usually follow its lead. It then gradually lowers prices and makes up the difference by drawing more gasoline buyers, he said.

"It's not necessarily good or bad," DeHaan said. "It's just that they are the heavyweights in the market and this is how they want to operate their stations. [image-nocss] Everybody follows them."

Shane Pochard, a spokesperson for Speedway, declined to discuss the company's price-setting process with the newspaper. But he said it bases prices on "Speedway and Speedway alone."

"Obviously, we monitor the market," he told the newspaper. "But how we may or may not influence, you'd have to ask the other [convenience stores] and gas stations in the country, or in the area, as to how we influence them."

Speedway, a unit of Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp., operates more than 400 gas stations and c-stores in Ohio, making it one of the state's largest gasoline retailers. Its headquarters are in Enon, Ohio, and it operates more than 1,350 stores in seven states. Speedway describes itself as the nation's fourth largest company-owned and operated chain of gasoline and c-stores.

Pochard said Speedway makes only "pennies on the dollar when it comes to a gallon of gasoline" and instead looks to its c-stores to make profits. "Unfortunately, the price of gasoline is what people see on the streets as they drive by, and that's obviously what they are putting in their tanks," he said.