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For one day only, Murphy’s Express lowers and lowers its price

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By Jesef Williams

Saturday afternoon on the S.C. 9 Bypass looked somewhat like a hurricane evacuation.

Vehicles came to a dead stop as motorists waited in long lines to take advantage of a rare sale – gas for under $1.

Murphy’s Express, a new gas station and convenience store next to Zaxby’s, held its grand opening Saturday, though the store opened last month.

To celebrate the grand opening, at 11 a.m., it started selling regular gas at $1.49 a gallon.

But to the surprise and benefit of many, that price fell throughout the day.

The Lancaster News received numerous calls regarding the low prices and the massive lines that formed because of it.

Staff photographer Aaron Morrison saw Murphy’s gas at 99 cents a gallon, then drop to 97 cents.

By 3 p.m., the price had fallen to 89 cents.

At that time, a line of westbound vehicles on the bypass created a stagnant line that stretched almost to the next major intersection near Pizza Hut.

Law officers had to direct traffic and convenience store workers did the same for customers looking for available pumps.

Lancaster resident Antwan Crawford was one of the many who waited over an hour for the steeply discounted gasoline prices.

“I can’t believe it,” Crawford said after his girlfriend topped off her Ford Expedition. “I’m glad to see gas prices come down – so people can afford this stuff.”  

Murphy’s Express may have continued to lower its prices because of competition from the nearby Crenco Exxon gas station, located on the other side of the bypass just a little down the road.

Gas there got at least as low as 98 cents a gallon, and long lines formed there that were comparable to those at Murphy’s Express.

But at 3:40 p.m., Crenco’s price was back up to $1.59.

Crenco’s store manager was unavailable for comment Saturday.

The price reversal steered many back toward Murphy’s Express, where its store manager, Rick McCarthy, was delighted by the large crowd.

He said the grand opening was held to make a statement. The special sale was just for Saturday.  

“We want to let everyone know we’re here and (to) please as many customers as we can,” he said.

Running on empty

At least two of Murphy’s Express customers had a tough time while waiting for gas.  

Shane Mounts and Stas Potemkin were in Heath Spring when they heard about the sale.

Mounts’ Honda Civic was already near empty when they left, but he hoped they’d make it to a pump before running out of gas.

While waiting in line on the bypass, Mounts’ Honda shut off. He and Potemkin pushed the car around the curve and finally got to an available pump.

The two friends didn’t appear bothered at all about having to push a car in traffic.

The thrill of buying cheap gas may have outweighed any frustration, as they smiled and cheered nearly the entire time at the gas station.

They topped off the car at 89 cents a gallon.   

“Wow, I haven’t seen gas like this ever,” Potemkin said. “It’s amazing. They should keep it like this.”

 

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152