Travelers south from Eureka are always shocked when they see the Gas prices in small town Willits, Ca. We’ve seen gas as much as a 50 cents per gallon cheaper. This disparity in gas prices as continued long after the arrival of gas at Costco, that was supposed to lessen or even end the consistently higher prices Humboldters pay for gas.
That’s why this story that Bill Holmes sent to us is so very interesting; not that our Supervisors would ever be so forward thinking and bold.
Tired of high prices, a city council voted to open a public gas station. A Kentucky Town Gets Into the Gasoline Business. (By Gregg Laskoski June 18, 2014 US News & World Report)
In Somerset, Kentucky, folks are angry about high gas prices. And elected officials there have questioned the prices that local distributors charge retailers. They say Somerset has become “an island of high gasoline prices,” with prices often 20 to 30 cents per gallon higher than neighboring towns and throughout Kentucky.
High gas prices annoy just about everybody, but in Somerset – where the median household income is just $27,000, well below the state median of $41,000 – it’s understandable why they felt compelled to do more than talk about it.
With a 10-0 vote, the city council authorized the city to enter into agreements to make purchases necessary for equipment (i.e., gas pumps) to provide gasoline for sale to the public from the city’s gasoline bulk plant. The fuel center’s storage capacity includes 40,000 gallons of gasoline; 40,000 gallons of diesel; and 20,000 gallons of off-road diesel. It also houses Somerset’s compressed natural gas fueling operations, which serves the city’s own fleet and was reportedly the first private natural gas fueling site in the state.
Somerset approved a plan to buy gasoline from Continental Refining Co., a local refinery, and will set the price based on an average of cities within a 50-mile radius. Sales to the public are expected to begin in a few weeks. Mayor Eddie Girdler has said the city’s gas would cost less than what’s currently offered at stations around town and his economic coordinator, George Wilson, says the setup will be simple.
The Associated Press reports that Somerset won’t sell cigarettes or anything else, only regular gasoline. An attendant will be on duty, probably from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but maybe later, to allow customers to pay by cash or credit card. Gasoline will be available at the pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using credit cards.
Let’s hope their initiative rewards them. Will Somerset be able to sell gas at better prices? Will it be able to run a retail operation at a break-even level so taxpayers aren’t subsidizing themselves? Stay tuned! This just might become the kind of public-private partnership that towns and cities across the country try to replicate.