With gas prices hitting historic levels across the country, one gas station owner is drawing praise online for calling out what he deemed a “ripoff” being perpetuated by oil companies.
Reynold Gladu has operated Ren’s Mobil Station in Amherst, Massachusetts, for around 48 years. Last week, in response to soaring prices, he opted to drain his tanks and not have them refilled, refusing to take part in the business, which he claims is taking advantage of customers. In his state, average gas prices currently exceed the national average of $5 a gallon.
“I don’t want to be part of it anymore,” Gladu told the Daily Hampshire Gazette in an article published Tuesday. “This is the biggest ripoff that ever has happened to people in my lifetime… Dealing with Mobil, they don’t think through their pricing policies anymore. I’ve served their product, but I refuse to do it anymore, because they ‘re only getting richer.”
His story has, as of Saturday, gained traction online, with a handful of users on social media praising his decision to step back from his business and speak out.
“I would like to give applause to @ReynoldGladu owner of Ren’s @Mobil gas station in Amherst, Mass for stopping the sale of gas in protest to gas companies fleecing Americans!” user Roxanne M. Schloss posted on Twitter Friday. “Bravo!”
“Love this guy Reynold Gladu who said: there is no justification selling at high prices,” user Cindy Rubin added in her own tweet, echoing similar allegations from some that gas companies are using certain economic factors as cover for hiking prices. “It’s terrible what these companies are doing…Too many people believe the lies that these oil companies are stating…& it’s just wrong.”
While most reactions online have been supportive, a few have been critical of Gladu’s decision, with one Twitter user pondering why he did not opt to sell cheaper gas.
Moving forward, Gladu said that it’s unlikely that he will be able to keep operating his business without the profits from gas sales. Ren’s Mobil also operates three garage bays that offer a range of repair and maintenance services, including oil changes, brake repairs, and tire installations.
Responding to an inquiry from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, ExxonMobil spokesperson Julie King claimed that prices are beyond the company’s control.
“Service stations are individually owned and price their fuel based on local market competition and other business factors,” King wrote. “Prices at the pump are influenced by the price of crude, and wholesale price of products which fluctuate according to demand and supply factors—such as economic conditions and seasonal factors, fuel production, inventory levels, storage and transportation cost.”
Newsweek reached out to ExxonMobil for comment.