For months, Melody Kamen bought gas at the station on Moffet Boulevard near her office at the Department of Transportation because it had the cheapest prices in Bay Shore.
But she changed her routine this week after learning neighboring gas stations on Fifth Avenue were charging less than $3.40 per gallon.
The Empire Service Station dropped its prices Thursday to $3.37 a gallon in an effort to draw customers to the promotions being offered by local businesses. And apparently, it didn’t take long for the Gas Stop across the street to go even lower -- offering gas for $3.35 a gallon.
“Prices dropped and everybody started coming because they saw the prices going down,” said Mike DiMartino, 19, who was promoting a new wash and wax at the Empire gas station. “That guy [Gas Stop, the neighboring station] saw the traffic and lowered his prices too.”
And on Friday the long lines at both gas stations continued.
Maria Cortes, 41, of Brentwood usually gases up at Empire because it’s close to work. She’s a teaching assistant at Bay Shore Middle School driving a GMC Denali, which she classified as a gas guzzler.
“I’m like ‘$3.30 something, that’s unusual,’” she said. “Further down Fifth Avenue you don’t get those prices.”
Cars passing by on the busy street were skidding or making last minute turns into one of the two parking lots, which were overrun with vehicles. SUVs were trying to squeeze into open pockets in the parking lot just to hold a place on line without hanging out into the thoroughfare.
Valerie Firschling, 23, of Farmingville said the scene was the same all day at both stations. She spent the day at Empire promoting glass products and said business really picked up when Gas Stop first lowered its prices to match Empire’s $3.37.
“Oh my God, we must have seen over a couple of thousand people,” she said, shaking her head.
Representatives from both stations were unavailable to comment about when prices would return to normal, but Kamen said she’ll endure the wait for as long as they stay low.
“Gas is cheap,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you get gas here?”