I have wondered why is gas so much more expensive in Columbia than in other places in Maryland. I generally don’t buy gas in Columbia any longer because of the prices…I can drive just a little bit down the road and get much better prices at the various gas stations. I decided to do a little research (knowing that this changes daily) but here is some data I found online about prices in Columbia vs some other nearby cities/towns:
Lowest 5 locations in Columbia: $2.39 – $2.49

  • $2.39 is at Exxon: 6004 Foreland Garth & Tamar Dr
  • The highest prices are at 4 different Exxon locations at $2.69 at each location

Lowest 5 locations in Laurel: $2.12 – $2.15

  • $2.12 is at Gulf: 3601 Laurel Fort Meade Rd & Brock Bridge Rd (note – it is a cash only location)
  • The highest price is Exxon at $2.59 (but this is an outlier in Laurel – next highest is $2.39)

Lowest 5 locations in Ellicott City: $2.19 – $2.29

  • $2.19 is at Carroll Fuel: 4132 Old Columbia Pike & Montgomery Rd
  • The highest price is at a Shell station at $2.55 (the next highest is another Shell station at $2.49)

Lowest 5 locations in Elkridge: $2.15 – $2.29

  • $2.15 is at Costco: 6675 Marie Curie Dr & Lark Brown Rd
  • The highest price is at a Exxon at $2.59 like in Laurel, this is an outlier, the next highest is another Exxon at $2.39)

I also decided to look at some other locations in Maryland
Lowest 5 locations in Annapolis: $2.15 – $2.20

  • $2.15 is at Sam Club: 2100 Generals Hwy near Bestgate Rd
  • The highest price is at a CITGO at $2.59 (the next highest is $2.41 at a BP)

Lowest 5 locations in Rockville: $2.23 – $2.27

  • $2.23 is at Freestate: 510 Hungerford Dr & N Washington St
  • The highest price is at 2 Exxon locations at $2.59

Lowest 5 locations in Bowie: $2.17 – $2.29

  • $2.17 is at Safeway: 12410 Fairwood Pkwy near MD-450
  • The highest price is $2.43 at and Exxon (the next highest is $2.35 at a BP)

So there you have it…here is a link where you can do your own research:
One thing is clear: It is EXPENSIVE to obtain gas for your vehicle in Columbia. I am of the opinion that there is one clear way to combat this issue…shop in other locations until the gas stations in Columbia reduce their prices.
Have thoughts on this topic? Let me know in the comments.
Scott E


  1. There is a certain Howard Countian that has much sway with the gas station owners in the Columbia area. Does the name Siddiqui come to mind? You may want to ask Mr. Woodcock about what he knows about this coalition as he seems to have much more information and has written about it on his blog (The 53).

  2. How is it possible that it’s cheaper in Rockville (DC metro area) than Columbia??!! That’s why when I used to work at the office everyday in Woodlawn, I would take advantage of 2 things: Shell gas station offered 5 cents off on Thursdays and also gas there is about 20-25 cents cheaper than Columbia area so I used to get gas every week on Thursdays if I could…. now that I work from home on Thursdays and Fridays and I don’t get to benefit the 5 cents off, it’s still much cheaper than Columbia Shell gas stations or any other gas station (especially Exxon). I’m a Giants member so I try to make gas even cheaper for me when I have points to use at the Shell. LOL!!

  3. When you have no competition you are able to set your own price. When new gas stations are not allowed to build in the downtown area you have a permanent problem. I will literally buy just 1-3 gallons at one of the Columbia stations or the ones closest to me by APL until I can get to one of the others.

  4. My daughter and family moved from Glen Burnie to Columbia recently. The only downside is that I miss getting gas 30 cents cheaper every time I visited. The prices here are ridiculous. I get gas whenever I am out of our area – it is always somewhat cheaper nearby.

  5. I believe it mostly has to do with the snobbish mentality of most people who live in Columbia. I used to live in Columbia for many years, but often would drive to Catonsville or Laurel to grocery shop or buy my gas because the prices were significantly lower outside of Columbia. I remember discussing how prices were much lower in Laurel with neighbors and they would make fun of me and consider the areas with the cheaper prices as “ghetto” and lower class. Once, I told a stay-at-home mother neighbor about shopping at Arundel Mills. She said she had never been there because it us so far away. I was stunned? There are a lot of people who have been brainwashed into thinking that Columbia is this Utopia and They will either get attacked or their reputation suffer from being labeled “low class” for venturing outside of the “perfect” Columbia bubble. The businesses in Columbia (gas stations, restaurants, retail stores) are aware of this and inflate their prices because they know their loyal Columbians will gladly pay more to prove that they are a higher class than the poor, lowely schmucks saving money by shopping in “the ghetto”. Columbia is a big joke!

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