SHARECOMMENTMORE

For the past few weeks in Milledgeville, gas prices have been dipping well below average.

Nationally, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.60. In Georgia, the average is $3.49. But in some places in Milledgeville on Friday, prices went down to $2.99.

It's all part of what some are calling a gas war. Last week at Kroger, gas was $3.02 a gallon, as was Wal-Mart and Flash Foods.

By Friday, Kroger and Flash Foods had $2.99 gas. That led to lines out the door for people trying to fill up their tanks while the price was low.

Keeping prices that low means smaller, mini-mart gas stations sometimes can't compete. "That's not possible," says Sheela Patel, who was at EZ Mart in Milledgeville. "Because my cost is $3.25, how can I sell it for $2.99 because I'd lose my business."

She says fewer people coming in the last few weeks has hurt sales. She says in a day, their store usually makes around $8,000. The last few days, they've only made $900.

Patel believes larger stores like Kroger and Wal-Mart can afford to cut their losses by artificially lowering prices because they can make up for it by selling groceries and other items.

At Jet Gas, where the price is still $3.29, workers there say they believe the gas war is only temporary, and they would be able to ride it out by relying on regular customers.

"Some business might be lost," says Olivia Langford. "But I think it can be made up for with good customer service."

By 7:00 pm on Friday, the price at Flash Foods had jumped back up to $3.27. At Wal-Mart, the price had also gone back up.

Flash Foods, Kroger, and Wal-Mart would not comment on the price situation.

Follow Tom George on Twitter @thetomgeorge

SHARECOMMENTMORE