Craig Gasoline prices in areas of rural Colorado don't seem to add up, Ken Brenner said. If he's elected to state Senate District 8 in November, he plans to find out why.
Exactly why gas could be about 20 cents more expensive in Craig than Steamboat Springs and about 50 cents higher in Glenwood Springs than Grand Junction is a question Brenner said he wants answered.
"What I've found out so far is there is no law in the books for consumer protection as to price gouging for gasoline," he said. "What it shows to me, we're going to have to set up a legislative committee after the election to look at this."
It doesn't seem like shipping distance is the only factor increasing prices in rural towns, Brenner said, because Glenwood Springs is about 85 miles from Grand Junction, but Steamboat is considerably farther and gas prices are cheaper.
"People deserve an answer as to why there is such a discrepancy in price," he said.
It is not about interfering in free markets, Brenner added. The ability of businesses to set their own prices for goods and services is a cornerstone of successful economies.
However, he added, most people would agree that the public should be protected from a business that holds a local monopoly and charges its customers an unreasonably high price.
"Many people have no choice but to drive to work, and they need to be treated fairly," Brenner said.
A legislative committee would be able to look at business records and determine whether a gas station was charging its customers an unreasonable price markup, he said.
From his research throughout the past couple of weeks, it appears a gas station's typical markup on fuel is about 20 cents a gallon, Brenner said. However, there also are stations that charge less than their costs for fuel to get people into the business, he added.
Unfortunately for communities that would like immediate answers, Brenner said there isn't much that can be done until after the Nov. 4 general election.
In the meantime, he said he plans to continue visiting residents in Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson, Eagle and Garfield counties.
"You just really don't have a sense who your constituents are until you meet them face to face," Brenner said. "There's no way you can read that in a voter summary."
Brenner does not have any set plans to visit Moffat County, but he said residents who would like him to speak and answer questions about his campaign platform can call his campaign manager, Joanne Tucker, at 846-5645 and setup a meeting.