The consumer is getting gouged

EDITOR:

There are laws regarding price gouging. In hurricane and tornado ravaged areas, there are laws that restrict retailers from raising prices to take advantage of the weather. Why don’t those laws apply to fuel?

There is a “shortage” of propane in the Midwest. Supplies are down 46 percent. That means that there are still supplies, 54 percent of the supply they had last year. Why has the price more than tripled? Over $6 a gallon and by the time this hits the paper, maybe even higher. I understand the whole process. I ran a gas station for six years. I know demand drives price. I know how the fuel companies manipulate the prices. I was part of that manipulation. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now. In the 70s, there were gas “shortages.” Some states had rationing to individuals. Michigan had rationings to the stations. We were allocated how much we were “allowed” to sell. The price went from about 59 cents a gallon to about $1.50 a gallon. There was no real shortage. There were dozens of tankers of oil sitting offshore. Manipulation.

I believe that the propane dealers did not anticipate this type of bitter cold. That is not to say that we should get gouged. Are the propane distributors really in danger of running out? I doubt that. Propane is a by-product of oil. The U.S. is producing more oil than ever. We are now producing more than we are importing. Obama took credit for that fact in the State of the Union speech. It must be true if Obama said it!.

There are too many laws and regulations, but when the consumer is getting gouged, that is where the government has an obligation to step in.

Tom Grant

Escanaba