More than 50 owners of LukOil franchises are planning to protest the company’s “unjustified" pricing policies tomorrow (Wednesday) by raising their gas prices to more than $8 a gallon.

Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience-Automotive Association, said LukOil dealers pay between 5 cents and 20 cents more than their competitors, requiring them to charge more at the pump than their competitors.

LukOil’s pricing policies have caused some dealers to lose more than 50 percent of their volume while others have “turned in their keys," Risalvato said. “We’re raising prices to an offensive level as a way of protesting," he said in a telephone interview last night.

The price isn't likely to be in effect for more than 24 hours at most stations.

Franchise owners at gas stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are planning to hang huge banners explaining the pricing situation to customers. The banners will also urge customers to call LukOil's offices as a way of pressuring the company to change its policies.

Here are the LukOil locations in New Jersey: