Letter to the Editor:
I enjoyed reading Mr. Dochtermann’s recent Letter-to-the-Editor critiquing the high price of Petro Star, Inc. gasoline here on Kodiak. Whereas I agree with his facts and share his frustrations, I really do not fault the Petro Star Corporation for its high gasoline prices. For our community has and has had every opportunity to provide itself with lower cost fuel and has shown that it is just not sufficiently interested to do the necessary work.
Like Mr. Dochtermann, my wife and I were in Seattle this past month, where we purchased regular unleaded gasoline for $1.799/gal; whereas the current pump price in Kodiak is $3.339 /gal, a difference of $1.54/gal., or about double the price.
Whereas Mr. Dochtermann is inclined to fault the Petro Star Corporation, I see things differently. Petro Star is a capitalist corporation; and, following the business model for virtually all for-profit corporations, its pricing is designed to maximize profits for the benefits of its shareholders, not its consumers. Conversely, on-island we have several socialistic business entities such as our water and sewer company (City of Kodiak) and Kodiak Electric Association (co-op) where the means of production are owned and managed for the benefit of its members – the general public. So in many ways we’re pretty much like communities across America, where business is conducted by a mix of capitalistic and socialistic bodies.
If folks wish lower-cost gasoline, then form a socialistic fuel company that is owned and operated for the benefit of the community. An easy starting point would be to expand the charter of the Kodiak Electric Association to become the Kodiak Energy Association and provide our community with both electricity and fuel oil. My thoughts would be to take the whip to the (elected) KEA board of directors and at least have them initiate a three-to-six-month, preliminary study to better understand whether KEA’s providing petroleum products to our community makes sense from a business standpoint. And, if it does, the next step would be to see how interested Petro Star, Inc. is to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with KEA wherein Petro Star would renegotiate its fuel prices on Kodiak in return for a limited, non-competition agreement with KEA.