Rifle to hold community meeting on gas prices
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado ” Gasoline prices are not as high as they were last summer in Rifle, when prices skyrocketed over $4 a gallon and motorists complained again about what they felt were unfairly, and possibly illegally set, higher prices than Grand Junction or even Silt.
But state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, and representatives from the Colorado Attorney General’s office still want to hear about price concerns from residents and businesses at a community meeting today at 2 p.m. in Colorado Mountain College’s West Garfield Campus auditorium in Rifle.
White said he’s continued to receive e-mails and letters from people complaining about the disparity. Officials with the Colorado Petroleum Retailers Association and gas suppliers, such as Kirk Swallow of Swallow Oil of Rifle, will be at the meeting as well.
“I asked them to all attend so they could hear the concerns,” White said. “I don’t expect too many people will be satisfied with what they hear, but at least they might get some answers to their questions.”
White said he wasn’t sure if any legislation to address the situation would result from the meeting.
Swallow said he planned to give a Powerpoint presentation on the gas supply and pricing process.
“I was just in Arizona and Utah and their gas prices are as high or higher than ours,” he said.
Swallow said grocery and convenience stores can sell gas at much lower prices because their food sales more than offset the difference.
“So you have these 1,000-pound gorillas,” he added. “I sell about $30,000 in food at our convenience stores each week. I have to make a profit to survive and I’m not making any more profit than I was six or 12 years ago.”
Swallow said credit card companies charge 4 percent each time a customer buys their gas with a card. Around 80 percent of all gas sales are charged to credit or debit cards, he added. When gas was $4 a gallon, that was 16 cents on each gallon. Now, at around $2 a gallon, Swallow said he’s still paying four percent.
“So VISA is taking about a quarter to a third of my money and I’m the bad guy,” he added.
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