Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica's Utterly Useless Gas Stations

A fill up of about 12 gallons, would cost $24 more on Cloverfield; a common 22-25 gallon SUV tank would cost roughly a whopping $50 more on a Cloverfield fill up than on the Long Beach pit stop

The photos you see here were taken on the same day, Sunday January 21, a mere 40 minutes and about 25 miles apart. The $5.79 "high water mark" was the Chevron on Cloverfield; the low water mark, my favorite Sinclair station in North Long Beach. My absolute fave station, it even offers same price, cash or credit; and, no, I don't make a special trip down there to buy gas. But when I'm passing through on the way back from points south, I take a very short detour and fill up. A fill up of my economy car, about 12 gallons, would cost $24 more on Cloverfield; a common 22-25 gallon SUV tank would cost roughly a whopping $50 more on a Cloverfield fill up than on the Long Beach pit stop.

Maybe 15 years back, there was a dowdy Arco station on Cloverfield where that Chevron and its sexy, overpriced convenience store now takes up space. The boring old Arco was very price-competitive. I didn't have to go anywhere else in the LA basin, to buy gas at or near the lowest commonly available price. But, alas, sadly, that station went away, and now we're left with the Chevron outrage, and the oligopoly pricing 76 and Shell across the street, all way out there price-wise (yesterday, $4.84, as photos show). They watch each other's pricing and act in unison, it seems. Do you remember "oligopoly" from Ec 101 in college? In which a few players have outsized pricing power?

My college roommate, Jim, back in Boston in the mid 1970's, was an authentic grease monkey; even Boraxo couldn't clean the grime off his weathered hands. When not studying, Jim spent a lot of time working in his father's Cambridge/Somerville station. He said, and I'll never forget, "Gas is gas is gas". In other words, the additives and hype, like Techron, are just no big deal. Gas is gas is gas. If you think you're virtue signaling, doing your car good by buying Chevron or whatever, you're not truly extending its life, or performance.

I've never understood why today's inflation-strapped people are so willing to pay an outrageous price per gallon, just for a little convenience. You don't have to go to North Long Beach to save meaningfully on gas. Just go to the S&K on Santa Monica Blvd. near the 405, where the price was $3.89 Sunday----$1.90 below that Cloverfield Chevron price, and only ten cents above that Long Beach station.

If I interpret correctly the numbers I see online on an official SM site, about $1 million worth of sales tax from the bloated-price SM gallons sold flows annually to Santa Monica City Hall, there to be squandered on their pet projects---like 17th street road diet, terribly urgent Pride Month decorations on the pier and Promenade, private security services, and that ultimate black hole----the Santa Methica Homeless Industrial Complex.

Do your budget a favor. Your're being hosed in SM. Buy your gas in North Long Beach, or, failing that, at the S & K on Santa Monica Blvd. This will send a message to the usurious SM stations, particularly those tightly clustered oligopolists along Cloverfield, that business as usual is not going to be tolerated. While you're at it, if you want to express your dissatisfaction with the present state of Santa Methica and how City Hall wastes your tax dollars, do all your retail buying outside the city limits. Wanna buy a new iPhone or significant purchase for the home? Buy it in Newport Beach where the sales tax is 7.75%, a full 2 1/2% lower than in Santa Methica. Calculate the savings on an iPhone. Once virtue-signalers par excellence Gleam, Torosis and Zwick and their radical policies are gone from the dais, you can do your own virtue-signaling by feeling free to once again keep your money here at home.


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