A Scipio gas station owner is fighting the high price of gasoline

Thursday, September 8th 2005, 4:02 pm
By: News On 6

The cost of fuel is slowly dropping, but accusations of price gouging are popping up across the nation.

One Eastern Oklahoma gas station owner is fighting back against high gas prices, saying he will have no part in what he feels is cheating customers.

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says not a lot of traffic comes through the tiny town of Scipio, Oklahoma, but drivers who do gas up at the Scipio General Store.

Treating them fairly is something owner Joe Faulkenberry says he takes great pride in. That's why when his fuel supplier raised the price on the pump for gas already in the holding tank, purchased at a lower cost, Faulkenberry was outraged. "I said this is the price gas should be left at. He said no, it's going from $2.62 to $3.02, which is 40-cents a gallon increase. I said on what's already in our tanks and he said yes, and I said no."

Faulkenberry refused to charge $3.02 per gallon, for gas he says cost the distributor so much less, so the company took it back. “My customers come first and I said you're not gonna mistreat my customers like that."

The two didn't exactly part on good terms, but Faulkenberry thought that was the end of it, that is until he got a surprise in the mail. Watts Oil Company is taking Faulkenberry to court saying he refused to pay for gas he'd already sold. Faulkenberry says they never came to collect, company officials say the payment was due when they removed their gas. As for the price increase, officials say it goes back to the refinery. They say oil companies raised the prices 40-cents in two days, so distributors had no choice but to pass it on. "If they would've just waited until we used up what had been brought, I wouldn't have said one word, because I know the price of gas is going up."

But he says to raise it on the gas they already had, is gouging. "And I'm not gonna go for it, not at this little store we're not."

Watts Oil officials say Faulkenberry was selling the gas on consignment, so it didn't belong to him until after he paid for it. They say they had to raise the price when they did, to help cover the cost of the much more expensive replacement shipment.

Faulkenberry is now charging more than $3 a gallon, the price that came with his new distributor.