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    Giant Food-owned Stations Permitted to Sell Gas at a Discount

    LANDOVER, Md. -- Gas stations in Hagerstown and Cumberland, Md. owned by Giant Food, LLC here can keep selling gas at a discount of 10 cents per gallon to shoppers who buy groceries, state controller William Donald Schaefer said this week, according to published reports.

    LANDOVER, Md. -- Gas stations in Hagerstown and Cumberland, Md. owned by Giant Food, LLC here can keep selling gas at a discount of 10 cents per gallon to shoppers who buy groceries, state controller William Donald Schaefer said this week, according to published reports.

    The retailer's promotions don't break a state law banning the sale of gasoline at below-wholesale cost, noted Schaefer.

    A competing fuel station complained last week that a discount program at a Martin's Food Market in Hagerstown could be in violation of state law. The program gave out gas credits based on grocery purchases of $100 and up.

    The controller found that because the credits were the equivalent of cash, shoppers were "in essence paying the full price" for gas, according to a spokesman at the controller's office.

    Earlier this year some legislators attempted to repeal a Maryland law prohibiting below-cost gas sales, but gas station owners and petroleum companies maintained that the ban was necessary to allow them to compete effectively against grocery, convenience store, and wholesale club chains that offer cheap gasoline as a lure to customers.

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