More than 100 Exxon gas station owners are suing the oil giant in federal court, saying it hurts their franchises by illegally manipulating prices — including intentionally delaying deliveries to keep supplies short.
For instance, the suit says, ExxonMobil has created a collection of 100 pricing zones in New Jersey, in which the cost of a gallon of gas fluctuates from place to place for no good reason. This discriminates against both their franchises and the motorists they serve, the owners say.
That leaves them vulnerable to competition from other stations, which can charge less without having to follow such rules.
In the end, the owners hope to reduce gas prices overall in New Jersey — and, eventually, nationwide.
The move was prompted when ExxonMobil suddenly announced a divestiture plan that assigns all interests in the franchises to wholesalers. That means programs the owners relied on will end “and a new party will have control over the Exxon System,” the suit filed in Newark says.
ExxonMobil, citing company policy, isn’t commenting on the suit.
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