Thursday, September 8

"Something appears to be rotten in the District"

On top of the news that gasoline prices in DC are higher than in surrounding states -- or any states, for that matter -- comes the question of "why?" The comparison with suburban Maryland and Virginia, in particular, invites inquiry.

While the greater Washington area relies more than other metropolises on gasoline pipelines which run from the Gulf Coast, the spike in District prices has people murmuring about a more nefarious origin. Rumors that suppliers discriminate against urban filling stations strike me as spurious. Rather, I'm more willing to believe less competition among stations and a greater willingness of city dwellers to empty their pockets have led local operators to view the current crisis as a "profit-taking situation."

Just ask some of the people who tried gassing up at the ironically-named Lowest Price stations late last week: I've heard the $4.75/gallon on the sign didn't even reflect the actual gouging going on inside at the register.

Update: The AAA Mid-Atlantic wants DC Mayor Anthony Williams to investigate.