Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This isn't what the Govern-meant

This hasn't gotten much press yet, but as gas prices go up it could be the story of tomorrow.
I am trying to catch up on what the heck Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act was meant to fix! The FTC doesn't seem to think it is all that fair. I know I have heard the argument that Wisconsin's minimum mark up of 9.18% is the highest in the country and I am only now beginning to understand how the law works.

Let's see if I have this right, gas retailers must use the "average posted terminal price" as determined by the petroleum industry as their base price and add 9.18% to cover what the Legislature feels is the exact amount of business costs and overhead. Presumably this is to prevent the BPs of the world from undercutting the Mom&Pop gas stations (that for the most part don't exist anymore).

Obviously, the Legislature wasn't thinking of their being alternate petroleum fuels such as E85 on the market when this was enacted. Only 15% of E85 fuel is petroleum based gasoline, the rest is ethanol - which is much cheaper than petroleum. Thus the base cost for E85 is significantly less. But according to S.100.30, there is no difference and E85's price is required by law to be artificially inflated to that of regular unleaded.

Those of you who understand this better than I please let me know what I am getting wrong here, cause this just makes no sense!

And for my left leaning friends -- please tell me why Dale Schultz and Mark Green are the only politicos to pick up on this story so far!


Edit -- apparently the Governor's office has taken notice in a good way.


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