Tags: Kentucky Town | Public | Gasoline Station | Big Oil

ABC News: Kentucky Town Opens Public Gas Station to Combat Big Oil

By    |   Thursday, 24 July 2014 02:42 PM

City officials in Somerset, Kentucky, a town of about 11,000 people, are taking on big oil companies by opening a taxpayer-supported gas station for the public aimed at lowering pump prices.

ABC News said the station is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, but predicted it may not be the last.

The Somerset Fuel Center opened this month with a sale price of $3.36 a gallon for regular gas. ABC said the price is not much cheaper than local private stations, but that competitors have reportedly already lowered their own prices.

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Mayor Eddie Girdler told WBKO-TV that gas prices traditionally increase 20 to 30 cents a gallon on the July 4 weekend in his town, perhaps because of its proximity to Lake Cumberland, a tourism draw that raises traffic through town.

"If government doesn't do it to protect the public, then who does it?" Girdler, a Republican, said of the town opening the station. "It's the role of government to protect us from big business."

The Somerset public gas station prompted a reaction from the energy industry that may not have been surprising. Brian Clark, executive director of the Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association, told ABC News his organization and the Petroleum Marketers Association of America are watching the “unprecedented” city fueling center very closely.

“The city will be competing directly with small businesses directly in the community, which raises many questions, not the least of which is: why is this a good idea?” Clark said. “It’s scary for us who depend on local businesses for their jobs, especially because the government says it intends to interfere with the free market.”

Mayor Girdler told The Washington Post, “We don’t care if we don’t sell a drop of gasoline. Our objective is to lower the price.”

“We are one community that decided we’ve got backbone and we’re not going to allow the oil companies to dictate to us what we can and cannot do,” Girdler said.

However, one local gas station operator suggested the town station is not exactly an example of free enterprise.

“They’ve used the taxpayer money that I have paid them over these years to do this, to be against us,” Duane Adams, a convenience store owner in Somerset, told the Post. “I do not see how they can’t see that as socialism.”

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City officials in Somerset, Kentucky, a town of about 11,000 people, are taking on big oil companies by opening a taxpayer-supported gas station for the public aimed at lowering pump prices.
Kentucky Town, Public, Gasoline Station, Big Oil
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2014-42-24
Thursday, 24 July 2014 02:42 PM
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