Commonwealth Journal

July 1, 2014

City not quite ready to sell gas yet

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Although city officials had hoped to start selling gas to the public this July 4th weekend, that has been delayed until the final pieces of equipment have been delivered. 
“We’re going to shoot for (July 12), but it could possibly be (July 15 or 16),” said George Wilson, economic development business coordinator for Somerset.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler had thrown the July 4 weekend as a possible start date for the much-talked-about city’s endeavor to sell gasoline to the public. But he had warned during the June 23 Somerset City Council meeting that it was all contingent on whether the needed equipment arrived in time. 
Wilson on Tuesday said the city is working to upgrade credit card readers. He also said several other pieces of equipment are slated to arrive the week of July 12 or right after. 
“All of it’s coming in,” said Wilson. 
City councilors voted to approve an ordinance that effectively allows the city to move forward with its plan to sell gasoline to the public from its fuel center on Chappells Dairy Road.
Girdler several months ago announced the city was looking into selling gas to the public. 
The announcement came after city officials voiced their displeasure for years at what they called unfair gas prices in the county. 
In May, the council approved a resolution to begin ordering equipment and negotiations with Somerset-based Continental Refining Company as a first step toward entering the private market. 
The city’s gas station, which had already been used by its own employees and the Somerset Independent School System, will feature 10 pumps in a kiosk, with an attendant on-duty throughout normal business hours.
Only regular (87 octane) gasoline will be sold. 
Officials have said gasoline will be available most hours of the day.
Although Girdler in April stated he was confident the city would be able to sale gas at prices lower than other private businesses, he has since backed off of that statement, saying that the city cannot legally discuss their pricing strategy. He has instead stated that the city’s gas prices will be determined by regional prices. 
The fuel plant can store 40,000 gallons of gasoline, 40,000 gallons of diesel and 20,000 gallons of off-road diesel.
 
Heather Tomlinson is a staff writer for the Commonwealth Journal. She can be reached at htomlinson@somerset-kentucky.com.