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College students study local gas-price disparities


EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WSAU)   Some U-W Eau Claire students spent last summer studying gas prices – and why they’re often higher in Eau Claire than elsewhere. The students cited Wisconsin’s minimum mark-up law for gasoline, which requires stations to sell their fuel at up to nine-percent above their wholesale cost. But that does not explain price differences within the Badger State.

Senior student Ben Possi cited a lack of competition in Eau Claire, noting that two retailers make up 68-percent of the local fuel market. The report also said Eau Claire has the smallest density for gas stations – which means that stations are farther apart than in other places. The study said there was an average of two retailers within a one-and-a-half-mile radius – much lower than in Saint Cloud Minnesota, where the average density is six within a similar radius.

The study said gas prices deviated by over seven cents a gallon between retailers in Saint Cloud – whereas the difference in Eau Claire is less than two-cents. Ironically, the Triple-“A’s” daily fuel price survey shows Eau Claire as being in the middle-of-the-pack in prices at the moment. Its average is listed at about 3.31. Green Bay and La Crosse are close to 3.40, while Milwaukee is the lowest at over 3.23.