May 17, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Pennies matter when 2 Lehigh Valley gas stations battle to be the cheapest

3 min read

Any station with gasoline under $4 a gallon is going to draw a crowd right now, but the battle for customers on one Bethlehem street came down to pennies.

The Raceway gas station and Gulf station on Easton Avenue both started Wednesday at $3.77 a gallon, incredibly cheap compared to stations still a few cents shy of $4.50 a gallon in the area.

Raceway dropped its price to $3.759 at about 11 a.m., a clerk at the station said.

The station has been one of the cheapest gas options in the area, so the constant stream of customers Wednesday wasn’t different from other days, he said.

Each of the eight pumps had a steady stream of vehicles, with some navigating the tight fit at the corner of Easton and Covington avenues to maneuver into spots as they opened up. More than one driver turned around to back up to an open pump.

Like most drivers, Phil Girard said he’s kept an eye on gas prices and saw that Raceway was starting to drop its prices last week. He usually picks between the Raceway and Gulf stations; a gas price app showed Raceway was the cheapest in the city so Girard stopped there.

Down the road, the Gulf station’s price was 18 cents cheaper than what was posted on eight hours previously. The website, where users submit gas prices and locations, showed the Raceway at $3.77 but it was updated later in the afternoon with the cheaper price.

Carol Donaldson said she uses the Gulf station to fill up her beloved Prius because it’s the closest to her home in nearby Kirkland Village, a retirement community.

Cost is always a concern, she said, but the difference of a few cents cheaper per gallon wouldn’t make her travel further up the road.

Donaldson usually condenses trips for her errands, so she hasn’t had to change much, “not with my Prius,” she said as she patted the hybrid car.

The Wawa less than a mile away also dropped its price but went from $4.35 to $4.25.

It was decidedly less busy at the pumps.

John Avila was visiting family in the area from New Jersey, and had just filled up at the Wawa.

He works in construction and has to drive to sites in New Jersey, so he’s always scoping out cheaper gas prices. If he had known about the cheaper gas, he “definitely, absolutely” would have gone to the other stations, even if there was a line.

“I would definitely wait,” he said.

It used to cost him about $55 to $65 to fill up his SUV, and that’s jumped to $85, $90.

“It’s a big difference and it definitely hurts,” Avila said, adding that he expects prices to keep going higher, maybe hitting $5 a gallon. “Slowly it could get there.”

He used to visit his family in Bethlehem every few days but now it’s about once a week. If gas prices continue going up?

“I would definitely not come out here,” he said with a laugh.

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Sarah Cassi may be reached at [email protected].