Area gas prices out of whack; legal action should be taken

Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Is there a good class action tort lawyer on the Peninsula? If so, there is a bundle of money just sitting out there waiting for that hungry hard hitting lawyer. The Alaska Attorney General's office assures me there is nothing they can do for our problem. The price gouged gasoline-buying citizens of the Peninsula need better sharks than the local gasoline distributors.

Our local gasoline distributors are laughing at us all the way to the bank! They laugh even louder at the Attorney General's office. Through several administrations the AGs have failed to do anything. The evidence speaks for itself that prices are being set to gouge us. Prices rise the same day to the same amount. If and when they ever fall, it is to the same amount. Evidence no stronger than this has won sex discrimination cases across the United States!

On Jan. 26 at 5 p.m., the price of regular unleaded gasoline at the new Fred Meyer east of the Dimond Center in Anchorage was $163.9 per gallon. At the same time at Fred's in Soldotna, and nearly everywhere in the central Peninsula, the price was $209.9 per gallon.

We are paying 46 cents a gallon more for gasoline!

Over the years, the price difference between here and Anchorage has been about 19 cents a gallon. We have grumbled, but we have learned to live with it. Over the years all the reasons given for the price difference beyond our local sales tax have been debunked. It seems our distributors believing the Attorney General's Office is a paper tiger have decided to go all out for greed and gouging!

The gasoline comes from Nikiski. It is cheaper to ship it to Fred's in Soldotna than Fred's in south Anchorage. It is likely that the Soldotna Fred's actually pumps more gas per year than the south Anchorage Fred's. I am using Fred's as an example because it disproves a major tenet of the distributors' claims to the AG that the local retailers are the culprits on the high prices — not the distributors.

Since Fred's charges the same prices for other goods here as in Anchorage, it stands to reason that Fred's would charge the same here for gasoline unless they had to pay a far higher wholesale price! Who sets the wholesale price? The local distributors and Tesoro! Put the blame where it belongs!

We need that hungry class action tort lawyer to come to our rescue! No one else out there will! I will be happy to see him/her make their millions if it means I will never have to pay more than 19 cents a gallon more than Anchorage!

William Phillips, Kenai

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