We don’t need gas czar setting ‘fair’ prices

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Every few months someone writes a letter to the editor complaining about the price of gas in Sandpoint compared to the price in Coeur d’Alene. When I see a price difference like this I first look to see if either the government or the mafia is interfering in the free market. I’m not aware of a different set of regulations for gasoline in Sandpoint, such as a “Sandpoint blend,” so has the number of gas stations been restricted? If the station owners here are making considerably more per gallon than the station owners in Coeur d’Alene, new stations would begin popping up in Sandpoint. But if the number of stations is being kept artificially low the gas price would naturally be higher.

If neither state nor local government is interfering that leaves a local cabal of Sandpoint gas station owners who meet every week and set the price. If this were true there would be an occasional gas station owner found floating face down in Lake Pend Oreille when he strayed from the “recommended” price. Actually the people here are pretty peaceful so they would probably just dunk him.

Price controls just cause shortages; we don’t need a gas czar setting a “fair” price.

Some of the price difference can be explained by the volume of gas bought and sold in Coeur d’Alene versus Sandpoint, but not all of it. My solution? I normally fill up here but if I’m in Coeur d’Alene, I fill up there. That’ll bring those folks to their knees. Whoever they are.

DAVE MUNDELL

Sandpoint

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