Competition needed

To the Journal editor:

What a disappointment. Our governor’s deputy legal counsel, David Murley, decided that the proposed Keweenaw Bay Indian Community gas station for Marquette Township would be an unfair competitor for Marquette local gas stations.

According to the governor’s office, the proposed gas stations would be “unlawful and offer an unfair commercial advantage to our surrounding competitors.”

Murley further stated that “we welcome additional gas stations and convenience stores to the Marquette area, after all, legitimate competition will only benefit consumers.”

I find these statements amusing and untruthful. The local gas stations are in competition for Marquette consumers? All the local stations are competing against each other? A KBIC gas station is not legitimate competition?

The truth of the matter is that all the local stations (except for one or two stations that vary from the others by a penny or two per gallon) have the same price per gallon of gasoline.

Our local stations aren’t in competition with each other. The KBIC responded by stating that the local station owners and operators “want to insulate themselves from competition to the detriment of area residents.”

Our local stations aren’t interested in competition. Each station raises or lowers their gas prices in unison. Why worry about the consumers? These stations know that the Marquette consumers have to buy gasoline here and that no station will be left out. How’s that for competition?

Once again the locals have no choice in service stations. One price fits all. It seems that the local gas station owners had an influence with the governor’s office and were successful in their attempts to insulate themselves from competition.

Competition is what drives the economy. Consumers should be able to have a choice, and businesses should compete for that choice. What is happening here in the Marquette area is unfair and “big brother” is interfering again by preventing competition and by “putting special interest in Lansing ahead of the interests of the people of the U.P.”

Nothing will change unless the Marquette area residents contact Gov. Snyder’s office and our state representatives to encourage them to look out for the local consumers. Aren’t our budgets stretched to the maximum now?

We need our gas station owners to compete for our gasoline dollars. It’s too bad that the KBIC station won’t be allowed here to compete with our local gas stations.

Bruce J. Belmas Sr.