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Reader Sends Cautionary Note to 'Would-be Virgin Islands Journalists'

Dear Source,
When a government agency sends you one of their advisories to print for them, check the facts and figures. I'd like any of the media members to come to St.Croix and find $4.75 gasoline. Those figures are gross distortions and harmful to the community.
When I first saw that article in The Source last Thursday, July 3rd, I thought "WOW. These station owners are reacting just like I would if I had to get permission from some power grabbing government official to set the prices of the products I sell". Then I calmed down a bit, knowing the two station operators mentioned as selling regular gas on St.Croix for $4.75 a gallon were much smarter and of a calmer nature than I am, and reconsidered. It was more likely the Department of Consumer's Affairs employee who made that gasoline price survey had dirty windows on their air conditioned government car and simply misread a sign as he cruised around the island comparing prices at the various stations, or maybe couldn't read their notes when they got back to their desk.
I get upset every time I see one of these price surveys issued by this government agency whose only real contribution is to make Waste Management look not quite so bad.
I doubt if there are two dozen St.Croix motorists who do not know who sells the cheapest gas within a few days of a wholesale price change. Those that don't, should also be told that when gas is as expensive as it is, your vehicle better have a huge fuel tank to fill after driving any appreciable distance to fill up, because it may cost more to drive there and back than you will save.
Believe me, I am a bargain hunter and will save a buck anyway I can without buying inferior goods. But I also know that the individual gas station operators have their own set of circumstances establishing business overhead and they cannot always survive on gross profit margins dictated by the government. Lease arrangements, employee compensation and benefit packages, any other expense items can range greatly from business to business and each business operator will either learn how to price his product or go broke. The burden of complying with government regulations is costly enough without also allowing them to set your retail prices.
Thomas Palm,
St.Croix, VI

Editor’s note:We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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