Drivers Flood City Gas Station In Somerset

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SOMERSET, Ky. (WBKO) -- "Whatever it takes."

Somerset drivers have been upset.

"Prices could be $3.40 and then the next day $3.70."

"We've put up with all the high prices," said Dave Wortman.

"It's cost me a fortune for the last twenty some years, and this is really welcome in this area," said Kathy Girdler.

The frustration felt in the town of Somerset is a feeling shared across south central Kentucky. After two years, a big decision made by the city's officials is giving taxpayers a new option at the pump.

"Government shouldn't be involved. If government doesn't do it to protect the public, then who does it? It's the role of government to protect us from big business," said a passionate Mayor Eddie Girdler.

The city run fuel center is the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S., complete with multiple pumps and attendants to help customers paying with cash.

Drivers in Somerset said high gas prices have been an issue in the town since they can remember. However, the new city pumps are already having an affect,dropping prices all over the city after only being open for three days.

"Traditionally it goes up 20 to 30 cents on the weekend. July the 4th we were the second lowest in the state of Kentucky," added Mayor Girdler.

Since the filling station opened on Saturday gas prices have dropped a few cents among retailers across town. It may be a small dip but drivers say it's exactly what they're looking for.

"I would rather pay the money I spend on gas in Somerset than in Tennessee," added Kathy Girdler.

"There's no way you can say $3.36 is a fair price but it's better than $3.76," said another driver.

The Mayor of Somerset said he hopes the station has an affect well beyond his community.

"Everybody in every town has virtually the same price. We want to do our share and our part by standing up and responding to the people.

Somerset may be the only town selling gas to its drivers, but it may not be the last.

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky city is venturing into the retail gas business by opening a municipal-run filling station.

The station on the outskirts of Somerset opened to the public on Saturday, selling regular unleaded gas for $3.36 a gallon. In the first three hours, about 75 customers fueled up at the no-frills city station, where there are no snacks, no repairs and only regular unleaded gas.

The price at four nearby stations was $3.39 a gallon.

Mayor Eddie Girdler says the station was created in response to years of grumbling by residents about high gas prices in Somerset. The city of about 11,000 is situated near Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky.

Supporters call it a benefit for motorists while critics denounce it as a taxpayer-supported swipe at the free market.

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