People are complaining about the price of gasoline in Slave Lake again, and for good reason. The price is not ‘always’ higher than it is in Westlock and Edmonton, just almost always. Not to mention other places like Peace River, which are more remote, if anything. It never made any sense, always makes people angry, and no amount of protesting ever seems to make any difference.
No amount of urging The Leader to investigate and report on it has ever done any good either, as far as we are aware. In fact we gave up doing it years ago for that reason – we always got the same useless evasions or weak justifications from the gas retailers (meaning the company spokespeople, not the local gas station owners). Along the lines of ‘it’s out of our control.’ It’s dictated by the market. It’s the cost of transportation or whatever.
Local gas bar owners are caught between a rock and a hard place. In any case, the markup for them on a litre of gas is tiny, it’s pretty well known. They make out by the extra stuff people buy when they stop for a fill-up. And the new rule that you have to pay before pumping is apparently making that even tougher, because a lot of people use a credit card at the pump and don’t even go inside the shop. All that because a few thieves are ruining it for everyone else.
Speaking of thieves, it’s hard not to think of whoever is pulling the strings on gas prices as stealing money from people in communities like Slave Lake, where you pretty much have to pay the going rate or stop driving. Not much of an option.
On the other hand (we should add), there’s a lot of local driving that isn’t really necessary. If you added all that up – or rather subtracted it – from the fuel sales, it might make enough of a dent to get somebody’s attention. Is anybody up for that sort of a boycott?