Commonwealth Journal

Local News

July 10, 2014

City’s gas pumps open July 19

Somerset —

Somerset will officially open gasoline pumps to the public Saturday, July 19 at City of Somerset Fuel Center located off Clifty Road at 244 Chappells Dairy Road, Mayor Eddie Girdler said Thursday.
“We could start selling gasoline now ... the kiosk is here ... all the equipment is here,” Girdler noted. However, the city is waiting for software to be installed that will process credit and debit cards more quickly, better serving what Girdler believes will be long lines at the pumps.
“We’ll probably have a trial run sometime next week,” Girdler said. He won’t discuss pricing policy but city officials have said price at the pumps will be based on an average of prices  in a 50 mile radius of Somerset. Girdler did say Thursday “... if (the city) were selling gasoline today, the price would be $3.42.” That would have been about 12-15 cents a gallon below the prevailing price in Somerset that day.
Somerset is getting into the gasoline business because of city officials’ concern about gasoline pricing. City councilors, as do many letter writers to the Commonwealth Journal, claim Somerset is an island of high gasoline prices, often 20-30 cents more than in neighboring towns and across the state.
Once city gasoline pumps officially open to the public an attendant will be on duty weekdays and Saturdays and Sundays for a week or so. After that, an attendant will be on duty Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., Girdler said. On Sundays and at night with no attendant on duty motorists may use credit and debit cards to purchase gasoline.
“We will have 10 different nozzles (pumps) in a kiosk,” said George Wilson, economic development business coordinator for Somerset. “Only regular (87 octane) gasoline will be sold,” Wilson said. “Somerset won’t sell cigarettes or anything else.” 
The fuel center is a newly painted, sparkling fuel storage area. It is the former American Pride bulk plant purchased by the city for $300,000. City engineer Reggie Chaney said the plant can store 40,000 gallons of gasoline.
The city will purchase gasoline from Continental Refining Company, the former Somerset Refinery. “The refinery is local ... it hires nearly 50 people,” Wilson noted.
The fuel center is headquarters for the city’s compressed natural gas operation. Somerset is converting its entire city-owned fleet from gasoline to natural gas. The center was first in Kentucky to install pumps and equipment to fuel private vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

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