Gas prices will drive where consumers shop

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In response to Sunday’s article on the gasoline tax I would like to say, “Thanks for stating the obvious!”

The extent and procedure of how the gasoline tax is distributed was certainly new and informative to me, but I believe most people who would take the time to read the article are intelligent enough to know that taxes collected in Ohio stay in Ohio and benefit those localities.

What the article failed to observe is in a free market consumers gravitate toward the lowest price of the same product.

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Gasoline is gasoline (let’s not get into grade and fuel additives), the only difference is going to be the price. I see West Virginia tags filling up in Ashland as well as Ohio tags, why? Because it’s cheaper for the same thing!

If people are truly concerned about attracting more consumer business in Lawrence County, then show me competitive pricing.

Driving across the river for a penny is ridiculous, but when budgets are tight a dime a gallon can easily give you two or three extra gallons over a month and if you’re not making a special trip you save even more.

In my vehicle, we’re talking almost 100 more miles in a month for the same amount of money because I can save ten cents a gallon.

Honestly, the question is not “Why do people go where gas is cheaper?” That’s a stupid question to ask because it answers itself. The real question is, “Why are gas prices consistently more expensive on this side of the river?” Or, why not ask why they are more expensive in Ironton compared to other spots in Ohio?

For those who travel some distances like I do on a regular basis, we know that gas in Wheelersburg is often cheaper than it is here, and as you travel up US 23 the price can be as much as forty cents different compared to here.

This is obviously a problem with a bigger scope than simply Ironton; one only needs to experience a road trip to see how a mile or two can show a dramatic change in gas prices even from the same station brand.

For whatever reason, gasoline is consistently more expensive in Ironton. If it happens to come up cheaper, I would certainly be glad to know about it and I’d be even happier to fill up my tank. I’m certain many others agree.

With social networking sites like consumers have the ability to rapidly spread information about cheaper gas.

It stands to reason that if any fueling station in Ironton were to undercut their competition across the river on a regular basis, word would get out.

The tax dollars that Lawrence County is losing would suddenly come back to us and then some. At the same time, that station would largely increase its business (wink, wink). With stations off the Park Avenue, OUS, and Coal Grove exits it is not a matter of access for those consumers, it’s all about price.

The fact remains, gasoline is gasoline, whether it is $3.20 a gallon or $3.10. Of course we’d all prefer it to be $1 again. As long as people have tight budgets, which will always be, we’ll go where it is cheaper.

If local government wants to improve that revenue source, then work on the equation you have: Find ways to make it cheaper here than it is there (or at least equal). It calls for serious work on business incentives as well as thorough investigation of the equality of our supply chain, not attempts at a guilt trip.

Jason Sharp