Lincoln County now joined by Curry County for paying the highest gas prices in the state, and among all 50 states.
Again, Lincoln County motorists are paying the highest gas prices in Oregon. Curry County is now in that same category. The gas we buy comes out of the same refineries and the same delivery trucks as our neighboring counties. Benton County right next door pays the lowest prices in the state.
The Oregon Attorney General’s Office says while bad for Lincoln County residents and tourists, there isn’t anything today that could be called illegal gouging going on. They say businesses have the right to charge for a product or service at a level that the market will bear. Illegal gouging, they say, would require an even more brazen price increase like (their example) a tsunami on the way to the coast and the gas stations started charging $10 a gallon. THAT, they say, would be actual gouging.
So, short of a tsunami, it appears we’ll all continue to pay much higher prices than at gas stations in other areas that have sufficient competition to offer more “reasonable” prices. Florence used to be in the same boat as us, but was delivered from their predicament when a Fred Meyer opened up a gas station there. The lowest gas price in Florence today is $3.45/gallon. In Newport, we’re at $3.83. In Lincoln City it’s $3.87. In Albany the lowest price is $3.29 and in Corvallis, $3.35.
And for every dollar vacuumed out of our pockets it’s a dollar that will not be spent in our local economy. For a county that already suffers more than it’s fair share of poverty, it just makes things worse since those extra dollars are going exclusively to out-of-town-owned corporations and distributors.