Independent gas stations hit hard by high fuel prices

Businesses losing money to stay competitive

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Drivers aren't the only ones frustrated by the surge at the pump. Independent gas station owners said the high gas prices are taking a toll on business.

Unbranded gas stations are finding it difficult to compete with stations like Chevron or Texaco who buy their fuel directly from oil refineries. Independent stations are forced to buy fuel from distributors, whose prices are usually higher.

"It's hard sometimes. We have to follow everyone's price to keep up with the business here in the small community. It's just tough to keep business going," said. Alex Sheakh, owner of Sal's EZ Stop.

Mom and pop stations like Sal's EZ Stop in Oildale have to keep their prices competitive to keep the customers coming back

Sheakh is charging his customers $4.59 for a gallon of regular gas to stay competitive with the Mobil station down the street, but he paid his distributor $4.78 per gallon of gas.

"We are losing about 20 cents per gallon as of Oct. 9," said Sheakh.

Sheakh also said if the prices keep going up, he won't be able to afford to stay in business to sell gas

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