Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

Gas prices…

Our area is again being given the shaft at the gas pumps. Last week I talked, in this space, about a trip the family took to Canaan Valley. While we were there, I had the pleasure of filling my truck up at $3.19 a gallon in Elkins. That is if you can wrap your mind around $3.19 and turn it into some sort of pleasure. That was a full 30 cents a gallon cheaper than the gas I purchased in Braxton County to get to Canaan. Savings is saving and, in this day, and time, we have to take it were we find it. All along the way, the prices were cheaper than in Braxton County.

Having had a diesel truck I also pay attention to the price of that fuel. I have been amazed recently that the difference between gasoline and diesel has grown. Early in 2022 the price difference at the pumps declined to around 20 cents a gallon difference in the two types of fuel. Not now… I actually saw one station in my recent travels where the difference was $2.00 a gallon. I don’t understand the discrepancy. Well in a way I do… it’s the shipping industry realizing that they can strap a “fuel sur-charge” on the backs of the consumer and there is nothing we can do about it.

These companies are not only recovering their increased fuel costs they are, in most cases, paying for all their fuel cost and making a profit on top of that. For instance, Waste Management charges me a $3.25 fuel sur-charge for picking up my trash at the office. I think it’s less than that for my residential service, but an added charge none the less. At any rate… for every 100 customers that’s $325. How many customers do they have in Sutton? If a diesel truck gets 6 miles to the gallon, and $325 buys 100 gallon of fuel that’s 600 miles. You will never convince me that a trash truck travels 600 miles in Sutton to service 100 customers. You will also have a hard time convincing me that it cost that much to pick up my trash. Isn’t fuel a cost of doing business? Shouldn’t they be trying to recover the increased fuel charge… not all their costs? Prices are up approximately $1.00 a gallon over last year. This new revenue stream is why you don’t hear the trucking industry complaining about the high cost of fuel. The higher fuel goes… the higher the sur-charge goes… the more profit they make.

Our printer in Elkins delivers the paper to us. When gasoline was at its peak, they implement a sur-charge. The rate they charged was based on the cost of gasoline and when prices dropped so did the sur-charge. When gas prices fell below where they were when the extra fee was implemented, they quit charging it. I didn’t find fault with that premise. Even if I don’t like paying more, I do understand why they must recoup their costs, and this was a fair way of doing it. Unfortunately, my printer is the exception to the rule. Everyone else is content to set back and rake in the extra profit at our expense.