To the editor:
Through several recent trips I have noticed gas prices in Franklin County run 20 to 30 cents higher than nearby counties. Last week prices in Marion, Illinois, were about 20 cents cheaper than those in Benton. Last weekend gas prices in Salem, Illinois, were 30 cents cheaper than Benton. I am not sure what’s driving the market, but the result is local industry losing sales. I am much more likely shop at the Wal-Mart in Salem, Illinois, than locally if I want to buy enough gasoline to pay for the trip and save on groceries there. Or I might go to the mall in Marion rather than local stores and make sure to fill the gas tank before driving home. I might also eat at a restaurant outside of the county while on that trip.
High gas prices locally mean my patients are not able to see specialists or have procedures done not available in this county. This is especially true for people with fixed incomes such as the elderly and chronically ill.
I hope local fuel dealers don’t think we don’t notice the pattern. We may want to start asking questions before our local industry is hurt.
Richard Dean Rethorst, M.D.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Benton Family Health Center