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Fuel prices pinch station owners too

Gas station owners are having just as hard a time at the pump as the rest of us.

As gas prices increase every day, many drivers are saying they find it hard to believe that those who own gas stations in the Capital District aren't seeing profits higher than ever, but local station owners say that just isn't true.

Even though oil companies are seeing record profits because of the rates for oil, owners of stations across New York have seen no such profits, as they make an average of 10 cents per gallon sold at the pump.

My life's works in jeopardy, said Mac Brownsen, who owns a number of Capital District gas stations and is president of the New York Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, Inc. "I have to make $10 million in sales to make $100,000."

The service station industry has been crippled by the high cost of gasoline in recent months, with a half-dozen gas stations going out of business in the Capital District alone, according to Brownsen. Along with rising fuel costs, service station owners also have to deal with credit card surcharges that are a part of their contracts with oil providers and other credit dealers. Brownsen said he has to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card fees because of his contract with Exxon/Mobil.

Private gas stations owners are not the only ones being hit by the increase in gas prices, Stewart's Shops with gas pumps have also felt the pinch.

Tom Mailey, marketing manager for Stewarts Shops, points to an unstable economy as the reason for the difficulty station owners face when trying to turn a profit at the pump.

"Due to market volatility, this will vary greatly, and at times we do lose money. At the end of the year we will make less than 5 percent gross profit.

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