Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pump you up

For many years, the media in Bend was obsessed with saying that we had the highest gas prices in the state, and Oregon had the highest prices in the nation.

Well, it wasn't true then and it sure as heck not true now.

Check out this story at Time.com about how the poor Angelenos have to pay $4.19 a gallon at a Costco gas station. And, that's a steal. Anything under $4.30 a gallon is considered a bargain and some stations get $4.79 per gallon.

And, for those prices, you have to pump it yourself. If you want an attendant to fill your tank, you get to pay an additional 50 cents a gallon. In other words, you could pay as much as $5.29 a gallon for the same service you get in Oregon.

On Sunday in Bend, I filled up my car for $3.82 per gallon. Of course, I didn't have to pump it myself. We're civilized here in Oregon.

Also, our gas prices would be 6 cents a gallon cheaper if we didn't have a state increase imposed in January. Actually, our comparatively low taxes have little to do with the price of a gallon of gas in this country. Nor does the fact that Oregon and New Jersey are the only states that do not allow self-serve gas stations.

Market forces rule. Oil companies get what they can, where they can. We have no refineries in Oregon and Bend, despite its growth, is still the middle of nowhere, in terms of trucking gas over the mountains to get here.

In the Bay Area, with refineries next door, you can pay as low as $4.07 a gallon at a Costco in Concord.
Isn't that special.

We don't hear as much these days from oil industry lobbyists who push the bogus argument that gas would be so much cheaper here in Oregon if only we had self-serve gas stations. California and Washington, both self-serve states, have higher gas prices than Oregon.

Does anyone believe that gas in Oregon would be 50 cents a gallon cheaper if we just had self-serve?

In fact, it would likely be more expensive than it is now, just like our neighbors. And why would we want to add to our high jobless rate by firing thousands of pump jockeys.

I don't think I'm the only one in the Beaver State who likes paying less for gas and not having to pump it myself.

Of course, I wish I had an electric car so I could bypass the filling station altogether.

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