DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’ve been traveling Route 4 from Wilton to Lewiston for many years and have noticed all the different gas prices on that route, with a range of 30 cents. It’s all the same gas out of the same source. How dare they charge so many different prices, what is? These gas companies are reaping the benefits. — Confused, Livermore Falls

ANSWER: There are reasons for local price differences (regional price differences are also affected by taxes, transportation and other factors). For one thing, not all gas is created equal, with multiple sources and refineries which can lead to price differences. Also, each station has different costs, such as whether they own their station or are leasing the property.

Also, the focus of the business can affect whether the station strives to keep its price low. Perhaps the owners have a garage and work on repairing cars as their primary source of revenue, with gas as secondary. Some have a convenience store. Many gas stations make more of their profits selling you a soda than a gallon of gas.

Another factor is when the station filled its tanks with gas. For example, there is a very small gas station near Sun Spots’ home. If this station filled its tanks when the price of gas was low and then the price goes up, that gas can be sold cheaper than that from a station with higher turnover that just bought their gas at the higher rate. But the reverse applies as well. If the price drops rapidly when the small station has its tanks full of more expensive gas, then its price will be much higher than that of a station that refilled at the lower rate.

There are surely other reasons as well of which Sun Spots is unaware. It does seem as if the range of prices is rather extreme. Perhaps local gas station owners might share their thoughts with readers.

Lastly, if all those gas companies charged the same price for gas, authorities would be suspicious that they were engaging in an illegal practice call price fixing. If retailers were allowed to all set their prices at the same level, they would surely choose to do so at the highest possible price. That would truly be gouging!


DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is there a shoe cobbler in the Lewiston-Auburn area anymore? The two that I used to go to are now closed. Thanks for any help that you can give me. — Kathleen Cyr, Lewiston

ANSWER: Sun Spots does not know of any cobblers in L-A. These are the ones of which she is aware:

Paul’s Shoe Shop at 22 Cumberland St., Westbrook, ME 04092, e-mail [email protected], 854-4338, will provide service by mail. They are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Midcoast Shoe Repair, 14 Maine St., Brunswick 725-8557, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tom Finn Shoe Repair, 165 Water St., Augusta, 623-8491, open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Finn says he repairs anything leather, as well as shoes.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m writing to you to see if you could tell me where Tory Ryden (Channel 8 news) has gone? I loved her and miss her. Also, Dave Santoro (Channel 13 meteorologist)? I miss them both. Thank you. — No Name, Jay


ANSWER: As Sun Spots recently reported, Tory Ryden retired March 3 to stay home and care for her blended family of seven children. Dave Santoro left several years ago to teach math in the Portland schools.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: This is of great interest to me. Do the doctors do kidney transplants in Portland or do patients have to go to Boston? Thank you for all the help you give to everyone. — No Name, Auburn

ANSWER: Kidney transplants are performed at Maine Medical Center in Portland, but that doesn’t mean your doctor would choose to perform your transplant there. Doctors are usually affiliated with particular medical institutions and that’s where they would perform the surgery. Also, there could be other reasons to go to another hospital, such as a special procedure requiring specific medical expertise or equipment that is only available at certain hospitals.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]

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