Higher gas prices in Marquette area need to be addressed

We haven’t had to do an editorial on gasoline for a while. But based on recent prices in our area, it looks like it is time once again to question why gas is more expensive in the Marquette area, a situation several of our subscribers have also noted, and felt important enough to call us asking that very same question.

We checked with Gas Buddy online on Thursday and found gas at Meijer in Marquette was $2.87 per gallon. Meijer in Escanaba, meanwhile, was $2.54. This means we’re paying 33 cents per gallon more in Marquette than Escanaba. Holiday gas was listed at $2.87 per gallon in Marquette, and at $2.58 in Escanaba. That is a difference of 29 cents per gallon. Krist in Marquette came in at $2.79 per gallon, while Krist in Escanaba came in at $2.58. This is a 21-cent per gallon difference.

(Note: Gas prices Monday in the Marquette area ranged between $2.64 and $2.67 per gallon. However, corresponding stations in Escanaba were at $2.46, or about 18 to 20 cents less.)

Gas prices in Iron Mountain came in at $2.62 per gallon for Holiday, and Murphy was at $2.59 per gallon. Krist came in at $2.65.

In Houghton, gas was $2.72 per gallon at Murphy. Krist came in at $2.73 per gallon. The Pines in Baraga is selling gas for $2.28 per gallon. But to be fair, that station does not have to pay state taxes, which gives the Pines an advantage on the prices they can charge for a gallon of gas.

We had hoped that when the Ojibwa gas station opened in Marquette Township they would help regulate the price of gas in Marquette. That did not happen. The Ojibwa prices gas within pennies of the other regional gas stations. We had hoped they would charge a price per gallon based on what they pay for the gas in the tankers, instead of just matching the other gas station prices.

We also had hoped that when Meijer opened in Marquette they would make fuel prices more competitive. We assumed they would price a gallon of gas based on the price they pay instead of what other stations are charging in this area. There is no legitimate reason to explain why the station in Escanaba can sell gas for 33 cents per gallon less than Marquette. If Meijer can explain the reason to us, we would be glad to do a story on the reason why gas is so much more expensive in Marquette.

If you assumed gas for Escanaba and Marquette came from Wisconsin, we have done the math in the past and you could justify paying about 1 to 2 cents per gallon more in Marquette because of the mileage difference between the two cities. There is no legitimate excuse for charging 33 cents per gallon more in Marquette than in Escanaba.

The reason for gas prices being lower in Escanaba comes down to one specific reason: competition. Both Meijer and the Ojibwa could lower the price of gas in Marquette by getting more competitive. We are not looking for special pricing in Marquette. We just want fair pricing so we are more competitive with Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Houghton.

The Mining Journal has offered in the past to host a community forum and invite people from the gas companies to come and explain to local consumers why they are paying 33 cents per gallon more than Escanaba. We will make that same offer again.

We invite someone from the gas industry to come to Marquette and explain to us the discrepancy in pricing. Just contact The Mining Journal with the date you can come, and we will take care of securing a location and hosting a community forum on the price of gas.