Socialism in the Heartland? Kentucky Town Opens City Gas Station to the Public

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Hot rod gathering in Somerset Kentucky (photo:

Gas prices in the area have averaged $3.74 a gallon, while the city’s fueling depot sells for $3.10. The city purchases its petroleum from a local refinery, which reduces transportation costs and allows it to undercut private sellers.


Somerset will begin offering the cut-rate fuel once it installs new pumps at the city center. The rate will be based on calculating the average price of gasoline sold in towns within a 50-mile radius of Somerset.


“We will have 10 different nozzles (pumps) in a kiosk,” George Wilson, the town’s economic development business coordinator, told the Commonwealth Journal. “An attendant will be on duty, probably from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., maybe later, to allow customers to pay by cash or credit card. Gasoline will be available at the pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using credit cards.”


It was a pricing feud between Somerset officials and private fuel distributors that motivated the city to take the action. Many in the town have complained that its gas prices are generally 20 to 30 cents higher than those in surrounding cities and across the state.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

City Preparing Public Gas Station (by Bill Mardis, Commonwealth Journal)

Somerset Prepares For City Gas Station To Go Public (by Belinda Post, WTVQ)


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