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Higher gasoline prices in Chatham County

By Alfred Wyllie
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - The higher gasoline prices we see in Chatham County are probably not originating at the local gasoline stations or convenience stores. We in North Carolina have been held hostage for a long time to a limited number of distributors who tightly control the prices at the pumps and to the excessive taxes our state legislators inflict upon us. Yesterday at a convenience store in Virginia, I paid $2.27 and at a convenience store near me in Chatham County the same grade is $2.54.

Somehow, I don't notice the roads in Virginia being any better or worse than the roads in North Carolina. However, with the economy still recovering and our state extremely short of funds to pay for all the projects started in boom times, they no doubt will be looking at the gasoline tax for even higher rates. We need to start paying more attention to who we send to Raleigh to vote for higher gasoline taxes.

At least one convenience store chain has been slowly acquiring all convenience stores at an intersection or around a specific area, such as SouthPoint mall. In effect, this chain has been forming mini monopolies. This practice also allows the chain to keep a tight grip on the prices at the pump. With only two or three major distributors delivering gasoline to most of our stations, these limited number of distributors also are in a position to tightly control the prices, and these distributors do not show any evidence of competing against each other with lower prices.

Out of state fuel distributors, such as used by Sheetz, Wal-Mart, and a very few others, often effect lower prices at the pumps, even at the other stations in the immediate vicinity serviced by North Carolina distributors. When an out-of-state fuel distributor can deliver fuel cheaper at the pump than one of our two or three fuel distributors, that should say something about our North Carolina fuel distributors.

There are several websites that will tell you the where to find the cheapest gas at the moment. A statistical study of the pricing at the pumps in NC might show enough evidence of collusion to warrant a more investigative study. One might be able to obtain the data from one of these websites and compare the statistical data with surrounding states. It sounds like a nice study project for a statistics major.

I doubt a boycott would do any good. I have been boycotting these Chatham County fuel dealers that have higher prices for years and they are still in business with their higher prices.

 
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Higher gasoline prices in Chatham County
 
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