Competition sought

To the Journal editor:

In the ongoing debate over the proposed Keweenaw Bay Indian gas station in Marquette something has been lost in all the rhetoric.

The Marquette branch of the Upper Peninsula Petroleum Association has nothing less than a monopoly on the sale of gasoline in our county and has for many years. Is it only a coincidence that the price of gas changes all across Marquette County at the same time and for the same amount?

How is it that in 43 weeks out of 52 last year, we paid the most per gallon in the entire state? That’s 82.7 percent of the time.

However, due to the notoriety of this issue, the prices suddenly matched those of our neighboring counties, that is, until Governor Snyder’s letter came out opposing the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community station. Like throwing a switch the price jumped up the next day.

We have been gouged long enough. In the Feb. 10 Mining Journal op-ed, Steven Rush, director of government relations for Holiday and board member of the UPPA said, “Competition is a good thing as it is fair.” He said the KBIC station would have a 20.5 cent/gallon advantage. How about the advantage of the UPPA has to raise prices at will? We have been paying that 20.5 cents or more per gallon for a very long time.

This group of retailers has been fixing prices (I thought that was illegal) for a long time at our expense. Mr. Rush asserts that it would cause harm to open the KBIC station. What about all the harm they have caused taking money out of the pockets of thousands of Marquette County residents for years.

I wonder how quickly these station owners would cry foul if they had to pay 22 cents more for each gallon of milk they bought for resale. The residents of Marquette County are firmly in favor of having this station open.

If it were not for the price fixing in our county, I would not have written this letter.