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Written by Steve Frank   
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 08:05

There has been quite a response to our story about gas prices, unfortunately not from anyone with an answer.  For at least three weeks, as gas prices have backed off considerably in the counties surrounding Watauga and Avery, our prices have backed off only pennies—and some have even risen. With a 30-plus cent differential between prices in the Boone and Banner Elk areas and those in Caldwell and Wilkes, a lot of Ashe drivers told of gas prices there under $3.50 a gallon for regular.  I made contact with the Pantry Stores home office, inquired of Wilco-Hess and Kangaroo and got one vague response from Scott Yates of Loudmouth PR, speaking for the Pantry Stores, saying that, “Convenience retailers set a target retail price based on the wholesale cost of the fuel, and operating costs associated with selling the fuel. That prices are reviewed on a daily basis,” and that “We strive to remain competitive in every market.” As for regulatory help, there is none. I contacted Congresswoman Virginia Foxx’s office, who forwarded a brochure, the NC Attorney General’s office, who said there has to be a crisis or disaster to trigger price gouging investigations.  So where does that leave us? On our own.  Best advice for the short-term; work in trips to Ashe or off the mountain and fill up on your way back.  Maybe if the gas prices hurt our economy enough, enough High Country voices will be raised to be heard. Send us your gas price pictures--camera phones are fine--to the 'contact us' tab on  Tell us where and when you saw the price.

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