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Plain Talk: A North Dakota gas station owner responds to President Biden's accusations about prices

"He seems to think we can drop the price 20 cents to be patriotic," Kent Satrang, owner of the Petro Serve USA gas stations, said on this episode of Plain Talk.

Gasoline prices are displayed at gas station in New Jersey
Gasoline prices are displayed at an Exxon gas station behind American flag in Edgewater, New Jersey, on June 14, 2022.
MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS
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MINOT, N.D. — President Joe Biden is putting the blame for high gas prices on gas station owners.

"My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril," he wrote in a tweet posted before Independence Day. "Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now."

How does an actual gas station owner feel about that?

"He seems to think we can drop the price 20 cents to be patriotic," Kent Satrang said on this episode of Plain Talk.

Satrang is the owner of Petro Serve USA, which has several locations in North Dakota and Minnesota. He said he doesn't really get to choose his gas prices. His company posts them on the signs along the road, but the amounts are set by a very competitive marketplace.

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A station that is selling fuel at a price that's significantly higher than competing stations simply won't see business, which is why fuel prices in a particular area tend to be so close.

And besides, Satrang argues, companies like his don't make much on the fuel anyway. Satrang says his margin amounts to a "few cents a gallon."

"The actual credit card company makes more off our fuel for their fees than we do," he said, adding that most of his profits come from the food, drinks, and other items sold in his convenience stores.

Also on this episode, Wednesday co-host Chad Oban and I discuss the unhappy state of America as another Independence Day comes and goes.

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Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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