Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Delegate Warren Miller – Gasoline Bill

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, January 30, 2006

Our own Howard County Delegate Warren Miller (9A) has proposed legislation that is intended to help lower gas prices by lifting a ban that was imposed in 2001 prohibiting the sale of gasoline below cost.

One person summarized the effect of the 2001 legislation this way: "Sheetz and Wawa fought the legislation, but in vain. It passed both houses of the legislature by overwhelming margins and was signed into law by Gov. Parris N. Glendening on May 18, 2001. The following September, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer sent letters to the editors of several Maryland newspapers proclaiming the legislation to be 'good for the consumer' and assuring motorists that the new law would not cause gas price increases. When the law went into effect that October, Sheetz and Wawa promptly raised their prices."

Here is a link to Delegate Miller's legislation

You may be asking, "Who would sell gas below cost?" Any WaWa, 711, Sams Club, or CostoCo who would use cheaper gas prices as a loss leader in order to get you in the door. The concern was that such pricing tactics would harm other gas retailers who only sell gas – you know the Mom and Pop gas stations.

Well I sympathize with Mom and Pop. I actually raised this point with Delegate Miller – I believed him when he said he sypathizes with them too. However, the point is that the market place has changed a lot since gasonline was $1.15 per gallon.

Gasoline stations are no longer Mom and Pop operations for the most part. They are super convenience stores selling every thing from Gasoline to a seven course dinner. They are not relying on gasonline sales as their prime commodity. It is their loss leader.

I am inclined to allow WaWa battle it out with the rest of the super convenience stores and the big box retailers.

Here is the story.


One Response to “Delegate Warren Miller – Gasoline Bill”

  1. Anonymous said

    I’d be curious to know how many gas stations across Maryland are still “Mom and Pop”.

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