I am not at all surprised to learn that Utahns are charged 30 cents more for a gallon of regular than are motorists in other states. Already the oil companies and retailers take advantage of Utahns by selling "regular" gas that is, at 85 octane, two octane points lower than the regular-grade gas sold in Los Angeles, for example. Eighty-seven-octane gas, again sold as regular in L.A., is routinely passed off — and priced — as a "plus" or "midgrade" fuel here. Yes, a few stations here do sell an 88-octane midgrade, but even this is beneath the midgrade standard as found elsewhere.

Any possible issue of whether our substandard gasoline is acceptable at our altitude is perfectly irrelevant. What does matter is that this cheaper quality gas is less expensive to refine and, therefore, ought to be less expensive for us at the pump. However, here in Utah, where trust, naivete and unbridled greed too often meet, the extreme inverse is true.

Mark Terran

Salt Lake City