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Study says minimum mark-up law costing Wisconsinites 8 cents a gallon

A new study says Wisconsin's minimum mark-up law costs drivers an extra 8 cents a gallon.

But retailers say that's wrong and today's mark-ups are not what they used to be.

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank, says the required mark-up is 30 cents a gallon. Without the law, the study says gas would only be marked up 22 cents, which means we're paying 8 cents more than we should.

Retailers say almost nobody's getting the full mark-up, because stations can charge less if their competitors do.

Matt Hauser of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association says most stations are lucky to get 2-3 cents a gallon.

That's partially because they have to pay up to 12 cents a gallon in fees to the credit card companies every time we pay with plastic.

The Policy Institute says the Legislature should either repeal the mark-up law -- which has been around since the Great Depression -- or they should limit the mark-up to 21 cents a gallon, about what it was a year ago.

An effort to repeal the law has failed in almost every session of the Legislature in recent years, as mom-and-pop stations still say it would put them out of business.

Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, says he'd replace the mark-up law with one that requires big oil companies to have uniform prices either statewide or in certain regions.

He says the gas market is not all that competitive anyway, and the uniform prices would prevent the big boys from undercutting the mom-and-pop outlets, especially in small towns.