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Heated competition

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

Gas price wars thrive on corner in Lake Dallas

LAKE DALLAS — Rafael Ferrer took a moment to adjust his glasses, which had slipped down his nose a little in the noonday heat as he pumped more gas into the tank of his compact car.

Ferrer saw the big numbers in the red-light display from the freeway as he headed into work Monday morning: $3.15 a gallon.

He made a point to come back before the price changed.

“I drive by here twice a week,” Ferrer said. “It’s always a little cheaper here so I usually fill up here at this corner.”

The Circle K at the corner of Swisher Road and Interstate 35E started the little price war earlier in the day. QuikTrip, next door, dropped its price to $3.17 a gallon. Two gas stations on the other side of the highway dropped their prices to $3.19 and $3.21 a gallon.

Larry Cope drives the interstate every day from the Royal Lane exit in Dallas to State School Road in Denton. He made a point of coming Monday, too, to fill up the tank for his full-size pickup. Like Ferrer, he’s noticed that the prices at the Swisher exit are always competitive.

“It’s usually 20 to 30 cents cheaper than Dallas,” Cope said, adding that he usually fills up at the corner, picking the station based on which direction he’s driving.

Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip, said it’s a myth that there aren’t gas price wars anymore.

“They happen all the time,” Thornbrugh said, adding that ever since the company opened its store in Lake Dallas, it’s always been competitive at that corner.

That’s good for the customers, he said.

Gasoline was selling for about $3.42 a gallon on average Monday in Texas, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Drivers of compact cars, like Ferrer, saved about $3.25 filling up a 12-gallon tank at Swisher Road. Pickup owners, like Cope, saved about $5.46 filling up a 20-gallon tank.

Filling up each week with that kind of savings over the course of a year can add up: about $170 for drivers with a 12-gallon tank, to more than $200 for those with larger vehicles.

Thornbrugh said he’s noticed that people are very conscious of gas prices and can even be a little emotional about it.

“If they have an opportunity to go to a location to save money, they will do it,” Thornbrugh said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.