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Gas Prices Brought Down By A Single Cardboard Sign.

I wanted to share this story of an interesting event that happened here in my small town. I don’t know what you all pay for gasoline, but I was paying about $3.89 per gallon of regular unleaded up until this weekend, which seemed like a deal after paying $4.89 per gallon in Los Angeles. However, because I had to head “down the hill” to the city last week to take my wife to the airport, I saw that only an hour away gas was being sold for $3.49 per gallon – a $.40 cent difference. That is a huge difference if you have to buy 10-15 gallons of gas a week! But I just figured the price difference was because of my location and that the gas trucks had to make the trek up the hill to deliver our gas and wrote it off as the price of living in the mountains. However, one of the residents of my town decided that this was not fair, and took to the street corners at the gas stations with cardboard signs telling everyone what gas prices were just an hour down the hill. He stood at different gas stations with his handmade signs for a few days, rain or shine, and everyone started honking when they passed him. Even the newspaper picked up the story, letting us all know that the difference should only be $.06 cents per gallon and not $.40, which meant that our gas stations were price gouging my friends and neighbors here in town. Those of us who live up here tend to stay up here, so we don’t see the differences in price too often – and assume we are being treated fairly. But as it turns out, the gas stations here in town were in collusion to gouge the prices way above the market price so they were making a lot of extra money. This guy was on to something, and he continued to stand out in front of different gas stations with his cardboard signs…

Until Sunday… when all of a sudden the price of gas all over town dropped to $3.59 a gallon – a drop of $.30 per gallon in ONE DAY. Every single gas station now had gas priced at $3.59, like they had gotten together to discuss the man with the cardboard sign, the newspaper article, and how in a small town word travels fast – and those gas stations who didn’t drop their price would lose business instantly. Tthe price came down at all of them overnight, and now we are being charged a fair price for gasoline thanks to a single guy with a handmade cardboard sign who had the tenacity to stand out there day and night to try to get his neighbors to see that they were being robbed. So thank you, Mr. Cardboard Sign Guy, for showing us that one person can in fact make a huge difference!


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Comments (8)

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  1. Merna says:

    Great story; really shows how one person can really make a difference. Thanks for sharing

  2. Patrick says:

    Awesome! Small town businesses tend to have a little more flexibility with prices so long as everyone is willing to cooperate (especially when they are geographically separated from other competition). This even happens in small cities. I lived in a town of just over 125,000 people and there were 2 people who owned the majority of the car dealerships (one guy owned the Toyota, GM and Nissan dealerships, and the other guy owned Honda, Mazda, Ford, and a couple luxury car dealerships). The prices were a grand or two higher across the board (and sometimes much more) than if you were willing to drive the 2 hours to the nearest large city. Trade-ins? Get ready to get ripped off! I got multiple quotes when I bought my last car, then decided to drive across the state and do a deal where the competition was higher. I saved a couple thousand dollars.

  3. david says:

    They do have more flexibility sometimes, which I don’t mind at all – its a tiny town and they do deserve to make money. But they also have to answer to people who actually know them – our town has a whopping 6500 full-time residents living in it. So if I get ripped off by Joe at the car dealership, word travels very fast!

  4. […] absolutely love this article from David @ My Two Dollars.  It’s great to see that a small commitment from someone can have such a major […]

  5. Yan says:

    What a great story! What town is it?

  6. David says:

    Taos, NM

  7. […] My Two Dollars talks about how one person really can make a difference. […]

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