Bangor-Brewer Gas Pricing Wars Continue 

The gas price battle in the Bangor-Brewer area has gotten so fierce in the last month some local gas station owners are wondering if the larger stations are actually breaking the law while trying to bring in customers.Owners like Robert Baker, who owns the Broadway Citgo Station, are feeling the pinch. “Yeah I’m down a few hundred gallons a day minimum yeah easily, they’re shopping the gas prices,” says Baker.Now some of them are crying foul. They say some of the larger stations, like the Circle K stores, are actually selling their gas below cost to try and drive them out of business. According to the Attorney General’s Office, in the state of Maine that’s against the law. In a statement given to TV 5 the Attorney General’s office says:”It is illegal to deliberately charge below cost, for a substantial period of time, with the intent of putting your competition out of business. The Attorney General’s office is looking into whether or not any unlawful conduct has occurred in Bangor.””It should be illegal,” says Baker, “you can’t sell below cost I mean that just doesn’t make any sense to me.”James Swett, owner of Swett’s Tire & Auto on Hogan Road in Bangor, has been in this business for more than 40 years and says this is the worst pricing war he’s ever seen. “Customers think we’re probably taking advantage of them you know when we’re 15 or 20% above everybody I don’t blame them I would think the same thing,” says Swett, “I’d just as soon show them my slips or whatever.” That’s exactly what Baker has done at the Broadway Citgo. He posts his invoice for his customers to see. He also updates his sign to show what his cost is. “I have posted my cost and my average cost of a credit card fee, you know my customers ask me why I’m charging more here it is,” he says. The biggest fear for these folks is the bigger stations will eventually drive them right out of business. “I can’t continue, they got a lot deeper pockets than I do,” says Baker, “you can only go so deep, it’s tough.””When you have the big companies that drive out the small ones their prices always edge back up afterwards and you know that’s going to happen,” says Swett.TV5 contacted the corporate offices at Circle K and they deny they have sold gas below cost. They say those allegations are completely false.