The news we reported last week that Gov. Rick Snyder's office was against the proposed Keweenaw Bay Indian Community gas station in Marquette Township came as no real surprise to us.
The governor would not support the station because it would offer an unfair commercial advantage over surrounding competitors.
When the announcement came last year that the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community was looking at opening a gas station we said editorially that we supported the concept because we felt we needed new competition in this market to get the gas prices lowered in our area.
When we checked at that time with AAA,we found that Marquette was listed as having higher than average gas prices in the state of Michigan for 44 out of 52 weeks. For the majority of the 44 out of 52 weeks, Marquette was listed as the highest price of gas in the state of Michigan from the many stations that AAA surveys.
What we were in favor of at that time was competition to lower gas prices. We did not ever believe it was a good idea to offer an unfair advantage because of loopholes in the Michigan tax laws so that the proposed new station did not have to pay taxes to the state thus giving them an advantage over the competition.
We have seen significant changes in the price of gas in the Marquette area over the last six months. Marquette stations have become much more competitive with gas prices. AAA even listed Marquette on several occasions as having one of the lowest gas prices in the state instead of having the highest.
When we checked gas prices using Gas Buddy on Thursday, we found that Marquette had the lowest price of the four major Upper Peninsula cities. Escanaba was selling gas for $3.19 per gallon.
In Houghton, it was $3.21 while Iron Mountain was selling gas for $3.29 and at least one station in Marquette was selling gas for $3.17. We appreciate the effort on the part of the Marquette area gas stations to become more competitive with gas pricing.
We would still like to see the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community open a new station in Marquette Township, but we understand with the governor why they should have to operate under the same rules and guidelines as their competitors.
We also hope that the trend we have seen over the past few months continues in the Marquette area related to competitive gas prices. As long as we continue to see reasonably competitive gas prices, the people in Marquette County will be more likely to continue to support existing gas stations.
In the past, we recommended that people seek out the owners of local gas stations to ask them to be more competitive with gas pricing. We now recommend that you seek out the owners to thank them for lowering gas prices in our area and making us more competitive with prices in Escanaba, Houghton and Iron Mountain.
We hope local gas station owners have listened to the local consumers and they find it makes for a much healthier relationship with their customers to keep our prices competitive with Escanaba, Houghton and Iron Mountain.