Gas prices

Savings won’t finance out-of-town shopping

The Journal agrees that higher gas prices in Cortez — a fact of life for many years — are unfortunate. They amount to a surcharge for living here. Most communities have those quirky costs. For example, housing in Durango is far more expensive than in Cortez, and then there’s that parking-meter money.

Reasons do exist to shop outside of Cortez. There’s a lot that simply can’t be purchased here. “You can’t buy that here any more” is a reality brought to Cortez by people who shop at big-box stores and in neighboring towns.

There’s also a surprising amount that can, and some of it is unique and wonderful. The benefits of shopping locally are numerous. Supporting the local economy benefits us all.

Shopping here or there or not at all is a choice, often recreational rather than economic, and shoppers will do what they want. Some of them will consider the costs and benefits to their community as well as themselves. Some of them won’t.

For those who are wavering, here’s a tip: Higher gas prices in Cortez aren’t a valid reason to shop somewhere else.

The math is straightforward: A shopping trip to Durango requires at least 95 miles of driving; a trip to Farmington requires about 150. If gas costs, say, 30 cents less in one of those destinations, and a shopper coasts in on fumes and buys 20 gallons there, that’s $6 — or less than two gallons of gas. Durango is more than two gallons away for anyone who doesn’t drive a little hybrid (or a motorcycle, but pulling a trailer filled with purchases will cut into that mileage). Farmington is out of reach.

Add to that the point that the local business owners from whom a shopper might buy a Christmas gift don’t control the price of gas. They pay it like everyone else. Don’t penalize them, and everyone who benefits from sales tax collected in Cortez, for something they cannot change.