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Gas Wars? New merchant says he will have the lowest prices

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By Nick Schrager

 

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Gas prices are creeping toward the $4 per gallon mark, and consumers are sure to be looking for a break when it comes time to fill up.
A new Washington County merchant says he is going to do all he can to keep gas prices low for customers, and he even plans to have the cheapest gas in town.
Umesh Patel, who goes by the name Omar, recently purchased the convenience store that formerly operated as Porky’s on Perryville Road in Springfield. Patel is young, but said he brings years of experience in the convenience store market to town with him.

“I’m only 24, but I’ve been in it (convenience stores) for 10 years,” Patel said. “My dad used to own stores, and I helped him.”
Before coming to Washington County, Patel owned three stores in Delaware. He sold them, then came here looking to purchase a new location. He had looked at the former Fast Food store, which was purchased by Newcomb Oil Company. After local real estate broker Steve Hale showed him the old Porky’s store, Patel made the purchase and is planning to open May 18.
Patel said he will offer the typical convenience store items, and will also feature an in-store restaurant similar to what Porky’s offered under previous owners. He plans to serve breakfast and lunch, and he will take advantage of a drive-thru window. He also has plans to offer the lowest gas prices in town, and he will work to make sure that is the case.
“I’ll try. I’m going to drive by and look at their pricing and try to set it by that,” he said, referring to competitors in town. “I want to bring people in to my store. It was closed for a long time, and if you have a cheaper gas price, people will keep that in mind.”
Newcomb Oil, the company that purchased the old Fast Food store in Springfield, will open its new store there around the end of August, according to public relations manager Laura Blair. She said Newcomb will be competitive here, just as they are in other markets. Blair said the new store will open as a 24-hour operation, and will then evaluate that stance after it has been open for a while.
“Springfield will be no different than any other city, whether it’s Bardstown, Elizabethtown, or Paducah,” she said. “Price is dependent on competition in the area. There are times where Bardstown is cheaper than E-Town, and it fluctuates daily dependent on competition in the area and what the market does at the time.”
As of press time, Newcomb’s stores offered gas well below the average in Springfield stations. Locally, gas ranged from $3.89 to $3.95 per gallon for an average of $3.92 per gallon. Blair said her company’s Bardstown stores were selling fuel for $3.88 per gallon, while it was going for $3.83 per gallon in Lebanon.
“You have to stay competitive. That’s true with any product. We’re always monitoring the competition, and our goal is to stay competitive,” Blair added.
If you need to fill up after regular business hours, Patel said his pumps will be active for credit card purchases, even after his store’s regular business hours of 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. Although Blair said Newcomb’s new Springfield location will initially be open 24 hours a day, she added that her company’s pumps will be available after business hours if the store changed its hours.
Both Patel’s Happy Stop and the Newcomb Five Star store will offer Marathon gas, according to Patel and Blair.
Currently, the prices Blair gave for her company’s Bardstown and Lebanon stores were competitive in comparison to others in Kentucky. The state average as of Monday was $3.85 per gallon, which was 3.7 cents lower than one week ago. The national average gas price currently stands at $3.93 per gallon, according to the website, kentuckygasprices.com. To keep track of gas prices, visit the site for updates and more information.