Monday, August 14, 2006

Excuse Me, You Aren't Charging Enough For Gas

An ethanol-pump owner says he wants to lower his prices but the state won't let him.
Badger Ethanol in Monroe charges around $2.22 for a gallon of E-85, an alcohol-fuel mixture that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, by volume.

Badger's owners wanted to cut the price to $2 but said they had to artificially hike prices after some competitors complained Badger wasn't meeting the state's minimum markup laws.

The markup law is "antiquated" and the governor and Legislature should eliminate it, said Gary Kramer, head of Badger State Ethanol.

Wisconsin Consumer Protection investigators launched a probe into Badger's fuel prices and found E-85 selling for just over $2 a gallon.

Based on a complicated formula, the investigators said the price should have been $1 more.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jim Doyle ordered state investigators to do nothing to stop the pricing.

I’m glad that the governor stepped up in the name of common-sense, but why were the regulators even wasting their time on this?  Which consumer interests were they perusing?

Is any more evidence necessary that government shouldn’t be messing in markets?  They will always come to serve entrenched special interests at the expense of consumers.

HatTip: Pagan Vigil

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