Spatial variability in retail gasoline markets

  • Jing Xu
  • Alan T. MurrayEmail author
Spatial Analysis and Modeling


Retail gasoline prices continue to be of much interest to the public, with significant economic implications. Of course, pricing too has considerable influence on human behavioral patterns of movement, particularly travel. While national and state gasoline prices may vary, they are largely tied to fairly predictable factors, including the price of crude oil, weather, political stability, and refinery production capabilities, among others. However, local and regional gasoline prices can vary considerably. Capabilities for better understanding and predicting variation in gasoline retail prices are both informative and necessary, particularly with respect to spatial factors. This paper explores characteristics related to gasoline price differences across a region. Of particular interest is assessing price gouging behavior, especially the targeting of disadvantaged groups. A spatial analytic framework that incorporates exploratory spatial data analysis, remote sensing, geographic information systems and spatial statistics is proposed to investigate the impact of local market conditions on regional retail prices of gasoline.


Pricing behavior Retail Regression GIS Spatial analytics 



An initial version of this paper was presented at the 2018 Western Regional Science Association conference held in Pasadena, CA. The first author would also like to thank her UCSB Master's committee members, Richard Church and Stuart Sweeney, for input and comments on this research.


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Copyright information

© The Japan Section of the Regional Science Association International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of California of Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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