Letter to the editor- Gas prices gouge local
To the editor:
I have been self-employed for the better part of my working career, so I am well acquainted with the competitive process of business. There is something happening at Tahoe that seems rather absurd to me. The gasoline suppliers here in Tahoe seem to feel they have a corner on the market. They may sell a lot of gas to the visitors who come to enjoy the excitement of Lake Tahoe; and yes, these visitors may be a captive part of the gasoline-buying public. However, for those of us who live here year-round, we are a far cry from a captive buying group. Only about 1 gallon away is a competitive market called Carson City. There we can buy gas anywhere from 25 to 35 cents a gallon cheaper. So – one might say, why should I drive 30 miles just to save $4 or $5?
Let me tell you how it works in our family. Recently Carson City has entertained some great discount stores, along with some national chains that carry various items that we previously drove to Reno or Sacramento to obtain. Now just a short 35-minute drive away we can shop, go to lunch or dinner and save several dollars on other purchases.
The purveyors of products in the Tahoe Basin should be justly miffed at their business partners, the gas stations. With the local Tahoe gas stations’ excessive charges ($4 to $5 a tankful) it becomes worthwhile to drive and make other purchases while in a competitive market. We who live here at Tahoe have been asked to support our local businesses, and I agree that we should support our own. But suddenly it has become economically prudent to do otherwise.
I have talked with many of our friends and find that they also go off the hill to buy their gas and purchase other items while they are in the “city.” In fact, just today a gentleman told me that he saved $21 buying gas for his RV off the hill. He said that he always makes sure that he has enough gas to get to Carson when he leaves Tahoe.
Our local gas stations have taken a lot of abuse lately concerning the additive MTBE and they have tried to eliminate that groundwater contaminate – and for that I say thanks for their efforts. But that alone doesn’t seem to warrant the excessive charges. One might also claim that trucking gas to Tahoe is expensive, but Nevada is even farther away from the Western processing plants. It seems that the gas suppliers think that Tahoe is strictly a resort community and thus ripe to pick up a few extra bucks.
It turns out that the losers are not only the local gas stations, but also our local retail suppliers. For those items that are not sold here in Lake Tahoe we will purchase them were we can. It would sure be nice, though, to purchase supplies that are sold at Lake Tahoe and not be economically forced to buy elsewhere.
South Lake Tahoe
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