Michigan fuel retailers shift blame for high prices

| 4/13/2006

A group of independent fuel station owners has banded together to send a message to drivers regarding skyrocketing fuel prices. And that message is, “it’s not our fault.”

The Detroit News reported that the Michigan Petroleum Association has started an advertising campaign to let consumers know that independent station owners have little control over fuel prices and that they don’t see anywhere near the record profits enjoyed by the giant oil companies.

According to the association, about 92 percent of the 5,000 gas stations in Michigan are locally owned.

The advertisements feature Dave Wakeland, owner of Wakeland Oil Co., Owosso, MI, and several Shell stations in the state. Wakeland immediately distances himself from the big oil companies.

“I’ve got one of Big Oil’s signs outside my gas station, but that doesn’t mean I’m Big Oil,” he said in the commercial. “Every gas station in Michigan that has a major oil brand is locally owned and operated.”

The Detroit News reported that the 30-second advertisements are running on cable channels in Detroit and local stations throughout the state, and are scheduled to run on Fox Sports Detroit as well.

Mark Griffin, president of the association, told The Detroit News that independent gas station owners are fed up with taking the blame for high gas prices.

“We’re tired of being the whipping boy for everybody who is upset about the price of gasoline, from customers to the media to elected officials,” he said.