Today’s Editorial January 17: Gasoline signs even playing field

Call it a sign of the times.

Cayman gasoline station owners are scrambling to order and get delivered to the islands signs that will let drivers know how much gasoline costs per gallon.

Right now we know the prices at various stations the old fashioned way – by word of mouth or by pulling up to the pump.

It’s not unusual for us to call our friends and relatives when we find a good deal on a gallon of gas.

We’ll still use that word of mouth, but it will be done after we read the signs.

Some predict the signage will spell doom for smaller gasoline stations that don’t supplement their incomes with convenience store offerings of pizza, fried chicken, soft drinks, paper products and limited grocery items.

The argument is smaller stations have to keep their gasoline prices up to stay in business.

And some station owners argue the signs aren’t necessary because they will lure consumers into making their choice of gasoline stations based on price only; not on service.

We contend that most people are willing to pay a little extra for customer service that is above and beyond the norm.

It will be nice to see the pricing discrepancies at the various stations.

We already know that you can pay as much as 20 cents or more for a gallon of self-serve gas from one station to another down the road.

Having the prices posted on signs will also stop that overwhelming feeling of sticker shock we get when we turn on the pump and get ready to fill our cars with petrol.

And think about the tourists who have no idea how much gasoline costs when they pull into one of the more expensive stations in preparation to fill up their rental car tanks.

Talk about sticker shock!

Some station owners are worried about potential gas wars.

If you’ve ever been the consumer in a gas war anywhere in the world, you know that you’re the one who benefits.

We certainly don’t want to see any of our gasoline stations close because of signs and we’re sure there will be some adjustment.

Signs posting gasoline prices are just another effort to bring some healthy competition to the gasoline industry in the Cayman Islands and bring the high costs of living down.

If there has been any abuse of gasoline pricing by any station, this new measure will certainly help put an end to it.

The deadline to have the signs up is 31 March. We anxiously await the date.