Accuracy in Media

A gas price war broke out in southern Maryland recently and was quickly quashed by Maryland regulators who deemed the prices were too low and forced them to raise their prices by a nickel a gallon from $1.99 to $2.04. Still a bargain but why did the government intervene in what should have been a business decision? Well it turns out that in 2001 the democratic controlled General Assembly passed a law to protect independent stations by mandating that gas couldn’t be sold below cost unless it was to compete with a nearby station. The free market need not apply in Maryland.

The real blame here belongs to the independent service station owners who pushed for this legislation in an effort to ostensibly protect them from larger retailers like Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club that have added gasoline operations in recent years and threaten to drive them out of business. My feelings are, if you can’t figure out how to compete then you shouldn’t be in business. Small business owners are always complaining about the cost of government regulation and in this case they actually lobbied for it!

Sounds a bit like creeping socialism doesn’t it?

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