The city’s gas stations have been selling gasoline for less than $3.70 a gallon for days, nearly a dollar cheaper than the Twin Cities.
HASTINGS, Minn. – Pretty views and small-town charm often draw people to Hastings, but something different has piqued interest lately: gas prices that have hovered around $3.70 a gallon since days now.
“The first thing I’m going to do when I leave work today is fill up on gas here because these gas prices are crazy,” said Jackie Finkbeiner, who commutes to work in Hastings a few days a week. “I’m really excited. If I can get cheaper gas here, I definitely will.”
Locals will tell you that cheaper than average gas has often been a small perk that comes with parking in Hastings.
“It’s always been cheap,” Niko Greenwood said.
But he admits that these prices are a difference maker in their own right.
“I do Doordash and have a lot of round trips, so if gas is $3.69 right now, that’s a big deal,” Greenwood said.
“It’s usually a little cheaper,” said Heather Novotny, who travels to Hastings from Cottage Grove. “But it’s a lot cheaper than Cottage Grove right now. It’s all over the news and Facebook and all my friends are saying, ‘You have to go to Hastings to fill up. The word is out there.”
According to Gas Buddy, the average price of regular unleaded in Minnesota has now fallen to $4.46 per gallon. In the Twin Cities, it’s $4.53 a gallon.
Customers have been curious as to why Hastings is bucking this trend with prices that are almost a dollar cheaper, but no one is complaining.
“I don’t know, but I like it,” Greenwood said with a laugh. “I’m okay with that. I’m okay with that.”
The resorts themselves aren’t saying much, and experts say that’s almost certainly because they’re locked in a price war.
“These stations are not all friendly to each other and some of them are really fed up with trying to undercut prices,” said Patrick De Haan, principal analyst for Gasbuddy.com. “Sometimes price wars are born out of this frustration.”
Even though wholesale prices have been falling across the country for weeks, De Haan says the gas war in Hastings has led to prices that are likely barely above what stations are paying themselves.
“There’s a reason these low prices are only available in Hastings,” he said. “Because no other station wants to shoot themselves in the foot outside of this area.”
Customers say they aren’t too worried about stations finding a way to keep going.
“Someone is making money somewhere,” said Curt Arey, who lives in Prescott, Wisconsin. “They don’t give that stuff away.”
And despite the tiny margins, this war has been raging for a while now.
“It’s been like this here for about a week and a half,” said Walt Zieman, who lives in Eagan but refueled during a trip to Hastings on Tuesday. “I didn’t need that much gas, but as long as I’m in town and it’s cheap, I’ll fill it up. I just hope it goes down more. There’s no no reason for him to be where he is anyway.”
Even if you don’t live near Hastings, De Haan says it’s a good idea for all drivers to pay attention to prices now. He says there is always more fluctuation and competition between stations as prices go down.
As for the war in Hastings, even if it continues, De Haan expects prices to rise by pennies, simply because of where they are now.
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