H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Feb 14, 2011 7:11 PM by Courtney Meznarich

Local man pickets Costco, says gas prices should be lower

You may have seen him picketing near the Costco parking lot in San Luis Obispo, or maybe he handed you a flyer while you filled up on gas.

Will Powers is on a mission to let Costco members know the store does not have the lowest gas prices. He says once you add in the membership fee and the fact customers can't pay cash, the price is no cheaper than other gas stations.

He realizes he's a one-man crusade, but says these days, every penny counts.

Powers is now retired from the retail business, but he still hits the Irish Hills Shopping Center a few times a week, or at least the parking lot.

Since he started picketing in front of Costco a couple of months ago, he's been asked to take his beef off store property.

"It's strictly informational," said Powers. "I'm not boycotting or threatening anybody. I will say this, they've called the police on me everyday I've been here."

In recent days, the average price for a gallon of regular ran Costco customers $3.39. It's the lowest in town, and only two other stations offer the same price.

"But at those stations, you don't have to have a Costco card, you can pay cash, and you can use other credit cards," said Powers.

A spokesperson for Costco says the store does have the lowest price for gas, nine times out of ten. When it doesn't, it's because nearby gas stations are lowering their prices to compete with the wholesale giant.

"When Costco opened up, I used to buy gas there," said Los Osos resident Fred Bohmoff. "But AMPM always matched their prices."

But that's not stopping powers or the attention he's getting from drivers passing by. Powers says he'll keep picketing until Costco customers feel less pain at the pump.

"He's trying to make a point, but I don't know what point he's trying to make," said Bohmoff.

"I think the average person goes in here and they don't even look at the price. Oh Costco, they're lowest. Well, they're not," said Powers.

Powers says Costco has revoked his membership, but the store would not confirm that.

For local gas prices, click here.

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