Van Nuys, California — There is a some funky pricing going on in Sherman Oaks California and it’s got to be stopped. Overt price gouging for the Hollywood Hills bound traveler is happening at a pair of adjacent 76 Service Stations just off of the 101 freeway. 76 is reputable west coast service station with obvious price fluctuations in different neighborhoods; however the fact that such a disparate price difference is allowed to continue on, unchallenged, is outrageous considering the proximity of these service stations to one another. Residents of Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, and Van Nuys need to put this game out of commission and be made aware of the pricing at the 76 Service Stations in question.
To put a bit of context to this, these gas stations are mere feet from one another. One of the service stations comes up with pictures from Google Earth as having been a Valero station but so long as I’ve been living here (since May 2009) both locations in question have been 76 Service Stations.
So here’s the caveat. The 76 Service Station north off of the 101 highway (4822 Van Nuys Blvd) always has gas which is priced around the median average in Los Angeles. The average of the three most recent prices on an internet search came up with an average of $3.0633; the 76 Service Station on the north side of the 101 expressway checked in this evening at an impressive $2.99.
Across the street at the adjacent 76 Service Station (4714 Van Nuys Blvd) is quite a different story. Now, mind you, the south side of the 101 expressway is en route to the Hollywood Hills, Studio City, and ultimately the very ritzy sections like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Eventually! I don’t want anyone to think I’m placing the Van Nuys Blvd exit of the 101 near West Hollywood; I’m just giving the piece context; the cost of living on this side of the 101 is markedly different than in the opposite direction. Some may wonder why people would get off at this exit who live in these other neighborhoods but it is a fact that people often dodge the freeway in preference of the local streets; particularly if they have business to do on the way home.
The folks at the southern location of the 76 Service Station across the street from the northern location of the 76 Service Station aren’t doing consumers any favors. If the 76 Service Station on the south side of the 101 expressway is where you are going to get your gas, you will pay a hefty markup. $3.49 at tonight’s prices. That is almost a 20% markup on already very expensive gas! Other service stations in the area are more commensurate with the lower priced gas found at the adjacent 76 Service Station; however when you have a brand gas station credit card and you need to fill up you often do so without even bothering to see if the price is better elsewhere. Some would also argue that this may be just a temporary spike but it has been ongoing; the substantial price difference is one of the first things I noticed in my new neighborhood.
While I understand that gas stations are independently owned and each set their own prices, I find it hard to fathom how two gas stations of the same brand, in the same zip code, within feet of one another (Google Maps puts it at .1mi) would have such different prices for a prolonged period of time. Or why California consumers would continue to support it.