State moves to curb Mankato gas war

The law has stepped in to put a stop to a gas war in Mankato.

It was a good deal for drivers — they got their gas at about 20 cents a gallon less than drivers in the rest of the state — but there was just one problem: the government controls the price of gasoline.

Ever since a Fleet Farm opened in April, it and Sam’s Club have been cutting gas prices. But in Minnesota, state law requires gas stations to make at least 8 cents a gallon profit over the wholesale price. The goal is to protect mom-and-pop gasoline stations, many of which have disappeared from the landscape, even with the law in place.

The Mankato Free Press reports the state Department of Commerce has fined Sam’s Club $20,000 for violating the law.

At one point, drivers in Mankato were paying 20-cents a gallon less than the state average.

It was a good run. As of this morning, the two stations are about 7 cents lower ($2.14) than other gas stations in town, but the prices are generally higher now than stations in the Twin Cities.