More than 50 franchise owners in the two states organized the protest after they said their supplier, Lukoil North America L.L.C., was slow to respond to their long-standing complaints about high wholesale prices.
"The dealers just can't survive anymore," said Sal Risalvato, of the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience-Automotive Association (NJGCA).
The dealers say that Lukoil's method of charging different wholesale prices by zones - common in the oil business - leaves some outlets unable to compete. Some dealers say Lukoil's wholesale price per gallon is higher than the retail price offered by nearby competitors.
Independent dealers and fuel companies often are at odds over pricing, but it is unusual for dealers to conduct such a high-profile protest. The one-day price increase got widespread news media attention.
A spokesman for Lukoil, which is owned by a giant Russian oil company, said officials "value our network of independent dealers," but blamed the dealers association for misrepresenting the dispute.
"We deeply regret that the NJGCA, a trade lobbyist, has apparently encouraged public misstatements and ill-conceived actions which harm consumers, rather than engage in constructive dialogue," Michael G. Lewis, the company's general counsel, said in a statement.
Lewis said zone pricing "is fully compliant with New Jersey statutes governing the sale of motor fuel."
Chokshi said his employees passed out leaflets to potential customers Wednesday to make sure nobody actually filled up with $10 fuel.
He said independent dealers, who rent their stations from Lukoil and are locked into franchise-supply agreements, have few alternatives to make up for losses.
"Our option is to turn in the keys and walk away," he said.
Contact Andrew Maykuth at 215-854-2947, @Maykuth on Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org.