Exchange works to keep gas prices low
May 24, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 24, 2012) -- The Fort Meade Express location relies on a survey process to ensure prices are fair and competitive with the local community.
Specifically, the Express conducts daily surveys of at least five locations selling fuel, deemed by the local general manager to be the competition. Pump prices are then set equal to the lowest price surveyed for each grade of fuel available.
"Because market-based pricing is not contingent on cost, we survey and change prices as frequently as necessary to remain competitive," said Fort Meade Exchange General Manager Jonathan Bright. "In fact, even though the Express charges sales tax on gasoline, the surveys can result in prices that are actually even below cost."
While it is true that the Exchange, as a U.S. government instrumentality, is immune from state and local taxes, the immunity specific to fuel has been waived by Congress (Hayden Cartwright Act, 4 U.S.C. 104).
Charging sales tax can be like pulling the emergency brake on shoppers used to the tax-free benefit that the Exchange provides on almost everything, except gas.
But the Exchange, and by extension its customers, is required to pay federal tax pursuant the U.S. code that covers federal tax on gasoline (26 U.S.C. § 4081(a)).
Accordingly, Exchange pump prices include state, federal and local motor fuel taxes, as well as underground storage fees.
Federal and state taxes, as well as other applicable fees, are included in the price and paid to the appropriate taxing authority.
"Gas pricing is a very complex issue, impacted by world markets, political and economic factors," Bright said. "With that said, we remain focused on delivering the best value possible to drivers at Fort Meade."