Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

June 2012
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Somerset opens city gas station to public


SOMERSET - Somerset's city hall ventured into the retail gas business Saturday, opening a municipal-run filling station that supporters call a benefit for motorists and critics denounce as a taxpayer-supported swipe at the free market.

The Somerset Fuel Center opened to the public selling regular unleaded gas for $3.36 a gallon, a bit lower than some nearby competitors. In the first three hours, about 75 customers fueled up at the no-frills stations, where there are no snacks, no repairs and only regular unleaded gas.

The mayor says the station was created in response to years of grumbling by townspeople about stubbornly high gas prices in Somerset, a city of about 11,000 near Lake Cumberland, a popular fishing and boating haven.

The venture got a thumbs-up from customers who let their vehicles reach near-empty in anticipation of the city-run station's opening.

"I'm tickled to death that they're trying to do something," Ed Bullock said as he filled up his car. "I'm glad they made the investment."

The venture unnerved local filling station and convenience store operators suddenly competing with the city in this Republican stronghold. Critics said the government has no business imposing itself into the private sector, and one store owner branded it as socialism.

Mayor Eddie Girdler, however, is standing firm behind the idea of the city-run station. The canopied station on the outskirts of this southern Kentucky town was converted from use by government vehicles into one that can also cater to anyone looking to fill their tanks.

"We are one community that decided we've got backbone and we're not going to allow the oil companies to dictate to us what we can and cannot do," Girdler said. "We're going to start out small. Where it goes from here we really don't know."

The amount charged motorists will be based on an average regional price for gas, and will include a small markup to cover costs, the mayor said. The city isn't out to make a profit, he said. Instead, the goal is to lower gas prices and lure more lake visitors into Somerset, he said.

Four nearby stations in Somerset were selling regular unleaded for $3.39 a gallon Saturday.

Duane Adams, a convenience store owner in Somerset, sees the city's station as a slap in the face that could hurt his business.

"They've used the taxpayer money that I have paid them over these years to do this, to be against us," he said. "I do not see how they can't see that as socialism."

Other retail groups, including the Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association, urged other municipalities not to follow suit. "If milk got too high, are you going to build a dairy?" said Ted Mason, executive director of the Kentucky Grocers Association and Kentucky Association of Convenience Stores.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 7037734ccb03403984d34a44e7400003
Top Classifieds
  • Seasoned Firewood. 243-5815 Details
  • Deutz-Fahr Cab Loader 4X4, Clean, 270 ... Details
  • Cash for farms & gold (270)339-8 ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • PILLOW TOPmattress sets NEW in plasti ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't buy p ... Details
  • Dodge Intrepid $500 281.565.5629 Details
  • Harley Davidson 1994 Softtail Spring ... Details
  • 02 HD Softail Duece,82k,$6,500 (270) ... Details
  • 2001 Corvette Convertible, Heads Up D ... Details
  • Scarlet Red Road Glide 1 owner 33K Mi ... Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Supreme Court ruling at odds with God's law
  2. Latter-day Saints' tenets are often misunderstood
  3. SPECTATOR Syria bumbling leaves Russia, Iran running show
  1. Most of region's school districts meet test goals
  2. Drugged driving deaths increase
  3. Two injured after semi rolls over
  1. Gubernatorial debate was depressing
  2. Supreme Court ruling at odds with God's law
  3. Latter-day Saints' tenets are often misunderstood

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...