MANTECA, CA - The Kwik Serv gas station on Yosemite and Powers avenues, which just opened in August, was forced to shut off its pumps Wednesday night.
"People see the price and they just keep going," owner Mike Hamed said. "I closed the business, because I can't afford to lose 50 cents a gallon."
Hamed said he's buying gasoline from his refinery supplier at $4.76 after all the fees and taxes, but he can't unload it to customers.
"I'd have to sell it at $4.90 to make a profit," Hamed explained.
Thursday morning, Hamed had only four customers in five hours, and most of them were here out of desperation.
"At this point I can't drive around no more. I'm out of gas," complained one customer, who wasn't thrilled about paying $4.65 for regular gas to fill up his truck.
The driver said he was just putting enough in to get him to the next cheapest gas station. A price less than 10 cents doesn't make much of a difference to stop.
"For 20 cents, I will stop, because I put $150 to fill my truck up," said the driver.
Hamed said he can't figure out how other stations are able to stay several cents lower.
"I see some stations at $4.09," Hamed said. "I don't know how they're doing it."
At the Stockton Valero station, prices are $4.29 a gallon for regular gas and they'll stay that way for now.
"We don't like to increase prices without any reason," Valero owner Vic Judge said. "We have a certain margin to gain from the every day sales. We bought our gas two days ago, before the prices went up, so we aren't going to charge our customers more."
The 76 station on March Lane will actually lower its prices after 10 p.m. It's an effort to court customers and to keep its volumes from dropping off.
The 76 station owner said the price decrease changes almost every night from 40 cents to 60 cents. He said the supplier cost of gas has gone up 10 cents almost every day this month.
As for Hamed, he begged his refinery for help, but got no where on the price.
"I told them we need to talk, we need to do something," Hamed said. "They told me there's nothing to talk about."