Mitchell Councilman Phil Carlson was blunt: Drivers in Mitchell are being cheated.
At the start of Monday night’s City Council meeting, Carlson accused Mitchell convenience store and gas station owners of charging too much for gas. It was selling for $3.27 a gallon locally at some stations, including Casey’s across the street from City Hall.
He pointed out that he bought gas for $2.94 a gallon in Sioux Falls this weekend (I paid $2.99 in SF Saturday morning but he got 5 cents off at a discount shopping center).
Carlson also said he saw gas selling for $3.14 a gallon at towns and cities across South Dakota in recent days. He blasted the gas merchants from the council platform and repeated the comments to me after the meeting.
A lot of people have been complaining. We have published stories and letters on the topic.
How do you explain such a wild fluctuation in prices? How can gas cost 30 cents more in Mitchell than it does in Sioux Falls?
Are we getting held up at the pumps? Is there a good explanation?
Has Carlson, a local lawyer who ran unopposed this year and claimed his first term in any office, harmed his just-launched political career? Or has he bravely sounded a note that needed to be heard?