Taxing the cool?

Ever since I moved to Ann Arbor in August, I've wondered why gasoline prices are so much higher here than in surrounding communities. I assumed it was because the gas stations have to pay higher rents. But the higher prices are not my imagination; today I saw official confirmation:

AAA Michigan says gasoline prices in the Ann Arbor area were the highest in the state Monday after rising 2 cents a gallon over the past week.

Monday's Ann Arbor average was $2.05 for a gallon of unleaded fuel, which is 2 cents higher than the statewide average. Over the past week, gas prices have crept up an average of 3 cents a gallon around Michigan.

In the comments, I found an explanation:
Its called the Ann Arbor penalty! but what makes you think its just fuel? Food,entertainment,rent,fines,ect. Everything costs more here. Do you think living in such a cool city doesn't come with a price? You should be proud to pay extra for this, and perhaps even pay a little extra on your taxes.
I'm too cheap to take pride in paying extra if I don't have to. A mile down the road in "un-cool" Ypsilanti, gas is 5 to 10 cents lower.

If people think the Ann Arbor "coolness penalty" is bad, they should try the San Francisco Bay Area.

As to those who believe in taxing their own coolness at a higher rate, I hope they believe in lower taxes for the un-cool.

(I find coolness taxing...)

posted by Eric on 04.14.09 at 09:11 AM


Just the WORD "Ypsilanti" is, on average, 150,000 times cooler than "Ann Arbor." So I'm not sure where this "Picker70" person is getting his/her conclusions.

apotheosis   ·  April 14, 2009 10:24 AM

The problem is that the ones wishing to tax cool places also want the money from the uncool ones.

As long as freedom of choice and viable competition among non-governmental entities exists, there will be options. Look for the Leader to redistribute the tax burden to the uncool.

MAS1916   ·  April 14, 2009 11:07 AM

Ann Arbor is cool? The thing I remember from my visit to the U of M checking out grad schools was a black guy pissing in the stairwell of the parking garage. Not my idea of cool.

I'll take Ypsi any day.

ScottH   ·  April 14, 2009 11:59 AM

"(I find coolness taxing...)"

And we ain't seen nothing yet. I know Americans get feisty at tax time, but NEVER get in between an American and their air conditioner. When Obama gets to the heart of his energy policies, people will go beserk.

Penny   ·  April 14, 2009 8:08 PM

San Diego, county and city, has a different reason for keeping things pricey; keep the riff-raff out. Or else too busy making ends meets to raise any sort of ruckus. Tourists from New York City complain about our prices.

It' a matter of supply. Restrict the importation of fuel by the application of environmental laws, and you keep the price of gas and diesel up. Restrict truck and rail access by the application of those same environmental laws, and you keep the cost of goods up as well.

How bad is it? We have a single two track rail line coming down from the north, and a single track line from the east. This for a county with some 3 million people in it. Goods shipped by rail in other places has to be shipped by truck here. And sometimes the roads are blocked for some reason. Even if the road system was sufficient for the task, there is the fact it simply costs more per mile to ship by road than by rail. It is kept this way so certain people don't have to deal with the hassle of those dirty, messy, noisy trains all hours of the day and night.

Eric, how does Anne Arbor artificially inflate prices?

Alan Kellogg   ·  April 15, 2009 7:01 PM

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