Opinion – 5/30/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2003

The Panolian Editorial

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 5/30/03  issue of The Panolian

Because ‘They’ Can
That’s Why Oil Companies Overcharge Rural Americans

Somebody’s getting ripped off.

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And that "somebody" is me and you.

When it comes to buying gasoline in Batesville, that is.

Now, that doesn’t come as a shocker to any of you who drive to Southaven or to Memphis. And, it’s even cheaper in Arkansas but some of that may have to do with differences in the state gasoline tax structure.

So, I’ll stick to Mississippi.

It didn’t come as a great surprise when I moved here that I have to pay more to fill up in Batesville than in the larger city of Southaven, but it ticks me off.

A bunch.

It’s not as though the gas we consume is coming from a lot of different refineries or that there’s that much difference in transportation costs.

I think it simply boils down to what the traffic – you and me – will bear because we’re in rural America.

From what I’ve seen elsewhere, it’s not the local stations that are raking in the extra bucks – it’s the suppliers and even more so the big oil companies.

Wednesday I picked at random a Southaven convenience store and called it to check prices. It’s one of the stores on Goodman Road.

The fella there said regular is $1.24, mid-grade is $1.35 and premium is $1.45.

Driving around the area last week delivering The Advantage, Panolian employee Chris Vanlandingham jotted down some gas prices. All were for regular unleaded.

In Batesville, the highest price was $1.48. Four stations he checked were priced at $1.46. Another was at $1.43 then the prices dropped down to $1.37 at the lowest.

In Courtland, the prices were $1.46 and $1.40.

In Sardis, the four stations checked were all priced the same at $1.46.

In Como, the price at one station was $1.34 and in Crenshaw two stations were priced at $1.45 and $1.52.

Two spots checked in Tunica had gas for $1.33 and $1.36.

Chances are there’s not a one of us who doesn’t consciously buy at least some gasoline out of town in order to save money … especially as much as gas costs these days.

And that’s a shame. Because every time we can spend a buck in Batesville it helps us in so many other ways through the sales taxes we pay.

But, I think greedy oil companies take advantage and force us into it …


(Kate Dickson can be reached by email at: editor@panolian.com)