As gas prices continue to rise toward $4 per gallon across the state, some gas station owners say they too are being gouged at the pump -- by their suppliers.
"As a small business owner, I want to offer my customers good products and services at a fair price," a flier being distributed to customers at the Fair Lawn Lukoil on Route 208 South reads. "Unfortunately, LukOil doesn't share my patron-first mentality. Rather than supplying my station with gasoline at realistic market prices, Lukoil sells me motor fuel at an uncompetitive cost!"
To protest their company's "anti-competitive" pricing policies that LukOil owners say have forced them to pass excessive costs on to customers, stations across New Jersey are staging a protest Wednesday by bumping up prices.
At LukOil in Fair Lawn, gas is going for $9.99 per gallon.
"LukOil refuses to play fairly so you and other customers can buy gasoline at a lower price and enable me to make a profit," the station's flier continues. "Today, I'm fighting back! I've raised my price to protest Lukoil's pricing practices and bring this issue to your attention."
Keith Kaminskas, one of the owners of the Fair Lawn Lukoil, said that, as of 9 a.m., only one customer had paid the bloated price at the pump. He said he's already twice pitched in $20 out of his own pocket for drivers who pulled into the station with their tanks on empty and in desperate need of a fill-up.
Most drivers, however, are pulling into the station and quickly driving off in a huff after they see the prices, he said. For drivers who do pony up the $9.99 per gallon, Kaminskas is doling out a free cup of coffee.
He's also asking that motorists fed up with high prices at the pump join him in protest by calling LukOil at (856)-722-6425 to air their complaints.
In addition to Fair Lawn's LukOil station on Route 208 South, other nearby locations expected to take part in Wednesday's protest include LukOil stations in Wyckoff, Fort Lee and Englewood.