Sunday, February 23, 2003

Ky. gas markups highest in U.S.

Retailers make 15.4 cents profit on each gallon

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Gas stations here are posting some of the biggest markups in the country for gasoline, a marketing firm reported.

Louisville has ranked as high as the eighth most-profitable metro to sell and supply gasoline this month, meaning retailers in the area post some of the biggest markups from the wholesale price they pay for gasoline, according to OPIS, a gasoline market research firm.

But retailers are disputing the numbers, saying that they aren't enjoying anywhere near the profit margins measured by OPIS.

Gas stations in the city added an average of 18.1 cents to each gallon in the week ended Feb. 3., placing it just behind San Jose Calif., in profitability - but ahead of New York.

Kentucky as a whole had the highest retail markup margin in the nation in early February - 15.4 cents a gallon. The state's margin earlier this month was more than three times as high as Georgia's.

The margin in Louisville was nearly 27 cents higher than in Las Vegas, where gasoline was actually selling at a loss of 8.8 cents per gallon.

But some gasoline retailers say they haven't seen profit margins anywhere close to those reported by OPIS.

"It's been perhaps 15 years since we've experienced any kind of margins like that," said Graham Baughman, chief operating officer for Thornton Oil Corp.

"I've got a store in Louisville, and I can tell you it's not more profitable for me" than other markets, said Steve Harper, chairman of Kentucky Petroleum Marketers association and president of Harper Oil Products in Florence.

According to the OPIS numbers, Kentucky remains a great place to do business.

Ashland ranked No. 10 earlier this month in the OPIS report, which changes weekly. In last week's report, Louisville had slipped out of the top 10, but the northern Kentucky area adjacent to Cincinnati had climbed to No. 3. For the year, Louisville ranks 13th most profitable market in the nation - a fraction higher than No. 14, Lexington.

The figures don't mean that gasoline in Kentucky is necessarily more expensive than in other areas, but the profit for retailers has been strong.

Falling temps ease flood fears
750 flee Westin fire
Making it on the outside: A parolee works to turn his life around
State budget deficits unite governors

PULFER: Are we the new Peoria?
BRONSON: Free speech - as long as it's politically correct
SMITH AMOS: Sex-change lawsuit

Firefighters hurt at blaze
Back-to-back fires keep crews busy
DARE class for home schoolers
Arts scholarships awarded
Tristate A.M. Report
Good News: Men face-off in bid to grow the best beard
Obituary: William J. Torbert was police officer
Obituary: Sr. Mary Marguerite Bockhorst

Bicentennial Notebook: Markers to show journey to statehood
Ohio Moments: Settlement grew rapidly
Slain teen's father points to video game
Arena slapped with beer-sale ban
Students share same needle in science experiment
Columbus lays off 49

Ky. gas markups highest in U.S.
Clergy abuse victims push to hold church responsible
Men in cruelty case say they love dogs
Lexington's bishop installed
Head-on collision kills two