MPR’s Than Tibbetts has helped News Cut out by putting the state’s current gasoline price picture into some perspective. In the aftermath of the gas tax bill veto override, a few gas station owners — mostly in border communities — wondered whether they’d lose customers to the competition in the nearby states.
We wondered, too. And now we’re wondering why they’re wondering.
With few exceptions (one county in Iowa), the average price of gasoline in every Minnesota border county is less than the average price in the county across the border. In a few of those cross-border counties, you can actually see where the price of the “other state’s” gas has been lowered slightly, presumably to stay as low (comparatively speaking, of course) as the Minnesota stations.
Than added the full 2008 gas tax increase — 5 cents — and found that there still is no competitive disadvantage for the Minnesota gas stations, even assuming the other states’ stations don’t raise their prices. The maps appear to support the conclusion that prices are slightly lower in other states, only along the Minnesota border, because Minnesota’s prices are lower in general.
As I pointed out this morning, the verbal opposition to the gas tax seems more pointed in the Twin Cities than “outstate.” Oddly, the Twin Cities have much cheaper gasoline prices than greater Minnesota does.