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Somerset Begins Retail Gasoline Venture

A Kentucky city is venturing into the retail gas business by opening a municipal-run filling station.

The station on the outskirts of Somerset opened to the public on Saturday, selling regular unleaded gas for $3.36 a gallon. In the first three hours, about 75 customers fueled up at the no-frills city station, where there are no snacks, no repairs and only regular unleaded gas.

The price at four nearby stations was $3.39 a gallon.

Mayor Eddie Girdler says the station was created in response to years of grumbling by residents about high gas prices in Somerset. The city of about 11,000 is situated near Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky.

Supporters call it a benefit for motorists while critics denounce it as a taxpayer-supported swipe at the free market.