Tahlequah Daily Press

August 19, 2011

Fuel pricing problems


TAHLEQUAH — Editor: Daily Press

Miraculously, posted gasoline prices throughout Tahlequah dropped perceptibly over the weekend following Jay Foster’s letter to the editor in Sunday’s newspaper. It went from a price of $3.59 or more a gallon consistently at most stations for regular un-leaded to a range of $3.40 to $3.50 per gallon at most stations. It was remarkable, as well that there was a range of prices – not all the same.

Gasoline prices in Tahlequah as compared to those in Tulsa (currently at $3.30 a gallon) has been a pet peeve of mine for some time. This means there is still a price differential of 10 to 20 cents a gallon. Tuesday, the average delivered price per gallon of unleaded regular including transportation costs was $3.24 – including federal and state taxes. Thus, it is apparent that we, in Tahlequah, are being gouged, and have been for years now. I’ve always wondered who lives in those mansions at the lake or up in the hills to the west. Some must be those who control the local gasoline market.

The same problem exists among other monopolistic local retailers. For instance, liquor stores. I have compared prices of distilled spirits and wine locally as compared to those in Tulsa. Consistently, the price of a $1.75 liter bottle of distilled spirits averages a full $5 more in Tahlequah than in Tulsa. Wine is a minimum of a dollar higher per small bottle. Which of those mansions belong to these dealers?

As a result, I try to make a fill-up of gasoline coincide with an hour’s trip to Tulsa to enjoy a choice of good restaurants, a diverse shopping experience and reasonable prices for the things I buy. Even the sales tax is less.

Orel Dugger