We thought for a short time that all the publicity about the price of gas in Marquette was having an impact when prices dropped last week from $3.79 per gallon to $3.69 per gallon. As it turns out however, we are still well above the price per gallon that people in Houghton, Iron Mountain and Escanaba are paying.
On Wednesday when we checked the gas prices, Marquette stations were selling gas for $3.69 per gallon. Houghton was selling gas for $3.44 per gallon. Escanaba was selling gas for $3.57 per gallon and Iron Mountain was selling gas for $3.58 per gallon.
The Upper Peninsula Petroleum Association has told us that the price of gas in Marquette is higher due to transportation costs: because we are farther away than Iron Mountain and Escanaba from Green Bay Wis., the source of the region's fuel. If that statement is true, then why do Houghton stations have the cheapest gas in the four communities? The transportation cost for Houghton should definitely be higher than Marquette. Wednesday, gas in Houghton was 25 cents per gallon cheaper than Marquette.
We know you, as a consumer, have felt helpless thinking there is nothing you can do to control gas prices. We feel there is actually something you can do to control gas prices and that is to decide where you buy your gas. All 17 CITGO stations in our circulation area have discontinued selling The Mining Journal in protest over our coverage of the high price of gas in the Marquette area. Some Oasis stations have also discontinued selling the newspapers and we have been told that they are contacting other members of the Upper Peninsula Petroleum Association and asking them to boycott The Mining Journal as well.
There are indications that gasoline distributor Krist Oil and Oasis' gas distributor may be the driving forces behind the boycott of The Mining Journal, which may also indicate that they are the same businesses dictating the price of gas in the Marquette area. If that is true and you quit doing business with these stations, eventually they may be forced to lower their prices to try to get lost business back. If that happens, it could drive the price of gas down in Marquette for all stations.
We have been contacted by many people who say they will no longer purchase gas or do any type of business with these stations. If that number continues to grow, you, the consumer, may well have the power to change the price of gas in Marquette.
Not all Oasis stations are involved in the boycott, so it is important to check the ads in The Mining Journal to see which locations are a part of it. We are running a large ad several times a week so you can stay informed on which stations are involved in the boycott and which stations still sell The Mining Journal.
There are plenty of gas stations which continue to sell The Mining Journal. We recommend that you support those stations and ask them to quit following the lead of the boycotting stations and distributors. Other stations may start getting more competitive with their gas prices. It would be refreshing to see a price difference between one station and another instead of all the stations having virtually the same price. It would be much easier to believe that there is no gas price fixing going on if there were variation in the price of gas from one station to the next.
Some elements of the Upper Peninsula Petroleum Association are flexing their muscles by encouraging a boycott of The Mining Journal. This makes us wonder if similar phone conversations go from station to station via the UPPA to keep consistent gas prices in our area.
It is time that you, the consumer, flex your muscles. Let them know, through your decision of where you buy gas, that you have a voice.
You can make a difference.