Since Escondido is one of the lowest areas in the county for gas prices, some motorists may be wondering what’s up with the OAAI station on the corner of Centre City Parkway at 9th Avenue.
The station has usually been one of the lowest priced stations in Escondido. But over the last few months, the station finds itself pricing gas at 50 -75 cents per gallon higher than its local competition, including major brands.
As of February 13, OAAI offered regular gas (cash price) at $3.75 a gallon. Other nearby independents around downtown Escondido are selling for $2.85 - $3.09 per gallon.
Interesting, as a second OAAI location, three miles to the east, on East Valley Parkway at Midway Drive, is selling gas for $3.03. Both stations have the same ownership.
According to gasbuddy.com, the OAAI on Centre City Parkway is the highest priced station in Escondido – 16 cents more than the second highest – a 76 station on West El Norte Parkway, and 50 cents higher than five normally high-priced Chevron’s and Shell’s.
“I don’t know what he’s doing,” said the owner of the US Gas at Centre City Parkway at 5th Avenue. “Normally we try to help each other out,” referring to independent stations nearby trying to keep their prices low, for what another station manager said, “was for the working class.”
I met with an employee at OAAI, sitting outside in the sun, asking why his prices are so high? He hemmed and hawed, not answering questions directly, finally saying, “It doesn’t matter.” A request to speak to the owner was answered with, “He’s busy.”
Another employee at the other OAAI station, when I started my inquiry, suddenly clammed up, saying he only started working there two days ago. He didn’t know anything about the other station, or how to reach the owner.
One independent station owner, who asked not to be identified, stated, “What is he doing out there? Nothing! He’s wasting his time sitting out there with no business. He doesn’t make a penny. He’s doing it for nothing. Yet I’ll bet he shows a profit somewhere, somehow.”
The owner of both OAAI’s, identified by the California Secretary of State’s office as Osama A. Alkasabi, did not return repeated requests for comment.