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OUR VIEW: Enough griping about gas prices

There have been some grumblings the past couple of weeks about gas prices in Mitchell. We've heard these complaints repeatedly over the years: Mitchell gas station owners are gouging local residents by hiking up the prices while other South Dakot...

There have been some grumblings the past couple of weeks about gas prices in Mitchell.

We've heard these complaints repeatedly over the years: Mitchell gas station owners are gouging local residents by hiking up the prices while other South Dakota cities' prices are significantly lower.

We received a call Friday from a reader who said Salem's gas was about 30 cents per gallon cheaper than prices in Mitchell. We've heard other complaints, too.

On Friday, we gathered our weekly gas prices report in which we drive to all of the Mitchell pumps and find the average cost per gallon. We found out Mitchell's average price is $1.64 per gallon, while Sioux Falls is 25 cents cheaper at $1.38 per gallon. Yankton is $1.58 and Rapid City is at $1.88.

Mitchell is paying a little more than some other eastern South Dakota cities, but the city is actually 6 cents below the statewide average of $1.70. So we're happy.

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Our viewpoint on gas prices is not how we compare with nearby cities, but rather how we compare on a statewide level. Mitchell's gas prices should always be competitive with the statewide average, which is a better way to analyze costs. And in this case, our prices are better than the statewide average. Cheers to that.

And to be frank, we really don't get overly worked up about Mitchell's gas prices, anyway. Sure, they oftentimes seem to be more expensive here than in Sioux Falls. Part of that is because there are more choices in Sioux Falls, and more competition drives better prices. That's business.

What has got us confused is the fact that people are complaining about gas prices at all right now.

Folks, we're paying $1.64 for a gallon of gas. That's a cost we never thought we'd seen again.

In February 2013, the cost of a gallon of gasoline in Mitchell was $3.57 per gallon. That's something to gripe about, and was a haunting figure each time you rolled past a station.

Last year at this time, it was a comfortable $2.13 per gallon.

So are we really upset that Sioux Falls and Yankton residents are saving, at most, an extra couple of bucks each time they fill up their vehicles?

Gas prices are always going to fluctuate with supply and demand. That's because gasoline is a natural resource that we rely upon to help us conduct everyday tasks.

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If you don't like the price, shop around. If you feel a specific station sets their prices too high, go somewhere else or fill up when you're out of town.

We hear the complaints about gas prices, but we're not listening.

There's nothing to complain about when prices are this low.

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