Keeping Competition Alive
A group of influential and well-resourced independent gas station owners sought to ban high volume discount stations in Howard County. As part of this effort, a task force was formed to study the issue and make recommendations to the County Executive and Council.
An overwhelming majority of task force members were predisposed against locating high volume stations in Howard County’s more populous areas. Moreover, independent station owners worked quietly behind the scenes with staff to develop recommendations against high volume stations. Passage of these recommendations would set a bad precedent for other jurisdictions and limit consumer choice.
Costco retained Chesapeake to defeat efforts to limit or ban high volume discount gas stations in the County.
Knowing that the task force would recommend legislation against new high volume discount gas stations, our advocacy work focused instead on the County Executive and Council. Chesapeake developed a messaging deck, focusing on the price-fixing nature of the proposed language and sharing data revealing that Columbia residents paid higher gas prices than in any other Maryland jurisdiction. We worked with various organizations to oppose the bill and met frequently with Councilmembers and Executive staff. As our work progressed, support for the legislation started to soften.
Chesapeake worked with Councilmembers to include amendments that allowed the bill to pass without limiting new high volume gas stations. The legislation passed with those amendments, resulting in a huge win for our client.