EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- We're getting closer to finding out why gas prices are higher in Eau Claire than the surrounding area.
After studying gas patterns all summer, local college students are in the process of turning in their findings, hoping to get to the bottom of the high prices.
It's something nearly all drivers in the Chippewa Valley notice.
“In Eau Claire gas is always more expensive than it is in surrounding areas,” said Sam Martinez of Eau Claire.
But with little choice they continue to fill up.
“I think it's gone on for 30 years or more,” said Eau Claire City Council Member Dave Duax.
After hearing complaints about the high price of petrol in Eau Claire, Duax said he turned to students from UW-Eau Claire to help get answers.
The students are spending the summer looking at patterns of local gas prices compared to surrounding areas and how it gets to us.
“When we see that data and when they explain it to us and go through it with us. I think we'll have more questions,” Duax said.
All this is happening after a U.S. Department of Justice study of Eau Claire's gas stations found no evidence of price gouging.
The Wisconsin Petroleum Council said the big price difference is because of our limited access to pipelines and the high cost of trucking gas here.
“Never once has there been an occurrence in any study found that there’s some type of collusion going on in types of gasoline pricing.
We’re pretty confident that they’re not going to find anything irregular,” said Erin Roth, the council’s executive director.
Roth also said that prices are controlled by gasoline retailers and not oil companies.
But drivers WEAU 13 News talked to said something is going on and the pain at the pump needs to be relieved.
“When you start adding 10 or 20 cents a gallon, it adds up,” said Terry Gorman of Altoona.
“Sometimes I don't fill my tank up as much because the gas costs so much. It's cheap to live here but it's not cheap to drive,” Martinez said.
A UWEC faculty member overseeing the study said data is still being collected and students should start analyzing findings next week.
Duax said the overall results should be made public in early October.
“I hope we can at least give people some actual reasons that people can understand and believe why this is,” Duax said.