UPDATE: Public meeting scheduled to present gas price study - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Public meeting scheduled to present gas price study

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Professors give a preview of the study they'll present on local gas prices.

An Eau Claire City Council member requested a market study after hearing complaints from constituents for years.  UW-Eau Claire students from the Geography/Anthropology Department and Economic Department took on the task.  They will share their study at a public meeting of the city's Fiscal Policy Advisory Commission on Wednesday, December 12th at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Dr. Ryan Weichelt, assistant professor in the university's Geography/Anthropology Department says the goal of the study was to give student researchers a "real-world" project.  He says another goal was to give the public an educational tool about gas pricing.  He says the study will focus on the following:

* Synopsis of Wisconsin's Minimum Markup Law as well as a narrative of gas tax structures in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa

*Compare and contrast the average posted prices and the wholesale prices of retailers in 10 cities through the tri-state area

*Document the estimated price markup and the amount of dispersion among posted prices in the Eau Claire market and then compare to other cities

*Describe the market structure of the retail gas industry in Eau Claire and other cities, including, but not limited to, details about the number of firms and availability of branded vs. unbranded gas

*Discuss the economic implications of the market structure on pricing decisions in the local market

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Previous story from Nov. 26th

Eau Claire (WQOW) - A long-awaited presentation on pump prices will be made in less than a month.

An Eau Claire City Council member requested a market study after hearing complaints from constituents for years.  Some UW-Eau Claire college students took on the task of examining market information.  Their findings will be made public at a meeting in mid-December, possibly December 12th.  Some of those details are still being worked out.

On Monday, UWEC Assistant Professor of Geography Ryan Weichelt said the research will serve as an educational tool, helping the public understand how the gas pricing system works in Wisconsin compared to other states.  Weichelt said the research will address the impact the state's minimum markup law has on gas prices.

Last year, a Wisconsin Department of Justice investigation showed no evidence of price fixing in the Eau Claire area.  In that report, one large retailer told investigators the price is usually higher in the Eau Claire area because the cost of gas to the retailer is higher at the tanks in Chippewa Falls.  The retailer said if a business doesn't buy from Chippewa Falls, it would have to go further to get the fuel, but any cost savings would be negated by the transportation cost.

Currently, motorists near the tanks in Chippewa Falls are paying anywhere from $3.39 to $3.44.  In Ladysmith, about 40 miles from the tanks, drivers are filling up for $3.27.  According to the state, a convenience store in Ladysmith would most likely get its fuel from the Chippewa Falls terminal.

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