New Gas Chain in Southside Starts Price War

Halifax Co., VA - Murphy Express in Centerville is offering gas at prices much lower than the average, but some locals say they will continue to fill-up at smaller stations to support those that have become a staple in the community.

Just last week, the average price of gas in Centerville was well over $3 a gallon. Now, after the opening of the Murphy Express, it's dropped to $2.95 a gallon.

And after seeing their new neighbors selling gas for $2.95 a gallon, the folks next door at Gas House felt like they had to respond.

"It makes a big difference when you've got a 26 gallon tank. It's whoever's got the cheapest price," said Murphy Express Customer Reuben Glass.

For most, it doesn't matter where the gas comes from, as long as they can save a little. For others, however, remaining loyal to Gas House, and other smaller chains like it, is important.

"I've always bought my gas at the Gas House and I don't like what the other people over there are doing," said Gas House Customer Lacy Bowen.

The parent company of Murphy Express has a business partnership with Wal-Mart.

Bowen says this is just another example of large chains making it hard for smaller businesses to compete.

Soon, even more small stations may be feeling the heat.

Another Murphy Express just went up across the street from the Wal-Mart in Danville. When that store opens, gas station owners say they expect to face a similar battle with gas prices there.

Karpal Singh owns the Quick-n-Plenty store down the road from the new Murphy location.

"Hopefully I won't get that affected," Singh said.

Singh says it's too hard for small stores like his to lower their prices to compete with the large chain.

"We still have to pay our mortgage. They've got big funds. They can take big hits for a couple of years and not worry about it. Personally, I don't think I'll get affected, but I won't know until they open so, we'll see," Singh said.