Our View: The price of policies

High gas prices are painful enough. But if you live in a community where what you pay at the pump is higher than in surrounding cities, that’s pouring salt on wounds.

Now add arrogance of corporations that refuse to explain why gas prices are so high, and you have a galling situation.

For months, Craig residents have been fuming about what they say is unfair pricing at the pumps.

There’s a lot that goes into pricing gasoline, including seasonality, environmental requirements, the cost to produce and deliver it to consumers, refinery processing costs, marketing, retail station costs and taxes. Changes in the cost of crude oil and disruption to production and supply, which occurred this year when major hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast, play a huge role in prices.

According to the Energy Information Administration, an arm of U.S Department of Energy, retail gasoline prices have been generally increasing this year, with the average price of regular gasoline rising from $1.78 a gallon on Jan. 3 to as high as $3.07 a gallon on Sept. 5.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which started the year at about $42 a barrel, reached $70 a barrel in early September.

But none of this explains why last week a gallon of unleaded gasoline at the Kum & Go in Steamboat Springs sold for $2.27, while at the Kum & Go on Yampa Avenue in Craig, gasoline was selling for $2.39, or 12 cents more. We should point out that other gas stations in Craig are charging the same as Kum & Go.

To hardworking Craig residents, 12 cents a gallon can make a difference.

There could be good reasons that gas is cheaper in Steamboat Springs than in Craig.

But Maureen Roushar, a spokes woman for the West Des Moines-based convenience store chain, declined to offer Craig residents an explanation.

Kum & Go, which this year made Forbes’ list of America’s largest privately-held companies — posting sales of $1.15 billion –aid it has a policy of not discussing the very industry of which it’s a part.

We think that’s bad policy.

In turn, some Craig residents are refusing to buy gas in Craig. We hate to see residents take their business to other towns.

But until Kum & Go and other gas stations offer consumers an explanation for their pricing, they’ll have to endure consumer policy.

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