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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Free market madness

Upstate Gas Station Sues Competitor Over Low Prices
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- An Upstate gas station has sued, saying that a competitor's lower per gallon prices at the pump have caused them to lose profits.

Pantry Inc. owns a gas station in Gaffney. It sued in Cherokee County, alleging that Petro Express had kept prices at two of its Gaffney stations below cost.

Pantry's suit said its competitor violated South Carolina's Unfair Trade Practices Act. Under the law, motor fuel companies cannot sell below cost with intent or effect of impairing competition.

Pantry said it has lost $165,000 and is seeking three times the amount it lost.

So the law is there to prevent a company from taking losses in order to drive another company out of business. Then, assumably, once the competitor goes under the prices go up and that business makes a fortune overcharging customers.

Except then another business comes along and undercuts that business. Customers go where the gas is cheap. Another example of government interfering in a free market, and making an oil company rich in the process. Surprise!


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