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Manteca Gas Station Owner Protests Rising Prices By Shutting Off Pumps

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MANTECA (CBS13) – Gas prices jumped eight cents overnight and could go even higher because of a supply problem fueled by refinery and pipeline outages.

One Manteca gas station owner is so fed up with it he locked the pumps and refused to sell gas.

The owner says he locked the pumps for one day because he didn’t want to charge drivers almost $5 a gallon.

“I told them gas is too expensive; I can’t afford to buy it right now,” gas station owner Mike Hamed said.

A day after locking all of the pumps, Hamed was faced with a tough decision: charge $4.89 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel or lower prices at the pump and lose money?

“I have customers who see the price and keep going,” said Hamed. “Right now, I’m losing about 15 cents a gallon.”

Hamed decided to turn on pumps Thursday at $4.65 a gallon.

“At this point I can’t drive around no more, I’m out of gas,” said one customer.

The driver hoped to fill his tank, but opted to spend only $20 for barely four gallons of gas.

“If your price was competitive, I would put $150 in,” the driver said.

Hamed opened up shop only two months ago when he says wholesale costs were more than a dollar a gallon less; but at the start of this week, his price list soared. It was an increase of 40 cents a gallon in one night.

“I hate to lose customers,” said Hamed.

The gas station is surrounded by competition, most with cheaper gas. Hamed says if prices continue to soar, he’ll be forced to make drastic changes.

“I can’t afford to pay no bills right now,” said Hamed. “If this is going to keep like that, we are going to have to close the doors.”

Hamed hopes drivers will fill up and purchase items inside, so he can stay afloat.

CBS13 checked with another Manteca gas station owner who says once he’s forced to order gas. He too will have to raise prices.

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