Take note! There is a gasoline station in Whiteville that's practically giving away their gas. Not literally, but it sure seems that way for a longtime Whiteville resident who is 81-years-old. Gas prices continue to soar across the region, and the nation, but in Whiteville the price has reached a standstill at an Exxon station. Curtis Barnes of Whiteville Exxon said, "And I'm giving it away today really, the gas is just about costing me even money. I'm losing money on the Exxon on the plus grade." As Barnes likes to say, he's giving away gas because he's unable to get new computers for his tanks. Until he does he's unable to charge more than $3.99 a gallon. "I've called every pump dealer from Fayetteville to Florence to Wilmington," said Barnes. This is a family business. Curtis and his wife are always close by, along with their son Jerry. In fact this is the only full service gas station in Whiteville. For those of you too young to know, that means you don't have to get out of your car. Jerry will do it for you. There's not a big profit margin on the gas, especially when the gas pumps will only go as far as $3.99. On top of that, a lot of customers use credit cards. Barnes loses three percent of his sale when customers use plastic. Some gas stations in the rural parts of the region have actually stopped selling gas. That's not an option for Barnes though. He has owned this full-service Exxon station in Whiteville for 42 years and remembers the price of gas back in 1966 like it was yesterday. "29.9 cents per gallon for regular, 32.9 cents for premium -- 42 years ago this coming labor day," said Barnes. Starting Monday Barnes plans to reduce the price of his gas in half, then charge double the price when the customers come inside to pay. The state will allow him to do that for 30 days. Curtis will have to buy new pumps soon though. He needs 13 new ones. They cost about $950 each.
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