Yummy. We're going on vacation. All the way to Houston, Texas.
For probably at least maybe likely a couple (more or less) weeks.
But never fear. There's time for more of this stuff to hit the blog. Although we've had a series of evening thunderings (we shut down when it starts making noise) and that can be irritating.
I thought you might be interested in this article, sent to me by a friend in Wisconsin.
May 9, 2007 - Merrill, Wisconsin - APA service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.
Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.
But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and ConsumerProtection said those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 92 percent more than the wholesale price.
Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.
Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.
Who would have thought the state had such a law? It's pretty sad. But that's Consumer Protection for you.
I got thinking about this article and, knowing that Albuquerque has Indian land all around it (that's where our casinos are), I thought I'd check the prices of gas at the stations on the rservations. You see, Indian land operations do not pay any Federal nor State taxes to anybody. So I figured they should be selling the gas at least 50 cents a gallon cheaper than we pay for it in Albuquerque. Their cigarettes are cheaper, after all.
Surprise! No such deal. Their gas prices were the same as in the city. I managed to collar a station manager and he told me that the Indians have been warned by gasoline companies not to sell their gas below the prices being charged in Albuquerque. He saw my quizzical look when he used the word "warned".
"They told us they would stop delivering gas to us if we sold it too low. I've got to have gas for my customers."
But the oil companies will probably deny this. After all, there is nothing writing backing up the station manager's word.
So I drove to another reservation gas station and asked the same question. The clerk said the manager wasn't in, so I asked her the same question. And got basically the same answer.
Apparently "free enterprise" doesn't mean the same thing oil companies that it does to me.
Another interesting bit of news about the cost of gas: Amazingly, astoundingly, fortitiously, 5, count 'em, five, FIVE refineries that had been "out of service for repairs" came back on line all on the same day.
See? Never say it can't be done.
Good ole American greed, er, enterprise.
Oh, if you click on the headline, there's a surprise link.