Brother can you spare a quarter? Why is gas cheaper in the burbs?


While driving down Highway 280 last night, I was taken aback at the price of gasoline.  Traveling south just past the Best Buy/Target shopping area, I spotted this BP/Circle K (below) selling gas at $1.93 a gallon.  It wasn’t a fluke. Further down Highway 280 there were additional stations selling regular gas between $1.93 to $1.99.

Gas Station on 280 - November 1, 2016
Gas Station on 280 – November 1, 2016

When I traveled back to Birmingham on the same evening, I took this snapshot of the price for regular gas at Southside’s Tom & Jerry’s Chevron.

Tom and Jerry's Chevron on Highland Ave.
Tom and Jerry’s Chevron on Highland Ave. – November 1, 2016

A 26 cents difference.

After taking that photo, I remembered earlier in the day passing a Chevron convenience store/gas station  in Homewood off Oxmoor Road next to Dawson Memorial Baptist Church that was selling regular gas at $2.32 a gallon. Below is a photo of their sign from last night.

Chevron Station across from Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood
Chevron Station across from Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood – November 1, 2016

A 39 cents a gallon difference between the Homewood station and the Circle K on 280.

In the coming days, as a result of the Colonial Pipeline explosion, gas prices are expected to increase and fluctuate throughout the Southeast. 

Once gas prices stabilize in the coming weeks, shouldn’t we ask the question – Why do gas prices vary so wildly in the Birmingham Metro area, especially between the outer suburbs and Birmingham (closer you get to downtown)?




Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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