(WSYR-TV) — You ask, we answer! Today’s question comes from a viewer who was curious about the daily changes of gas prices.

They ask:

How can gas stations change prices daily when they don’t buy fuel every day?

Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s Head of Petroleum Analysis, joined the Your Stories team to answer that very question.

Haan said that most stations purchase gasoline every two to four days. He also explained that many stations will set prices based on competition, but might also raise prices because they anticipate the cost of their next deliveries to go up.

“Prices have been rising pretty furiously over the last couple of months, so stations are trying stay ahead of it. With that said, stations are maybe making about 15 cents a gallon right now, if they are lucky, because it has been very hard to raise prices a head of time,” De Haan said.

Wholesale prices change daily. De Haan said if stations strictly set prices at the pump based on what they paid wholesale, we would see more volatility and larger price differences between stations because one station could have bought fuel at a much higher price than another station.

“Instead of a rollercoaster of ups and downs, raising prices in anticipation and — on the flip side — lowering prices before they sell through it, allows the ride to be less volatile,” De Haan said.

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