Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Gasoline stations could pay for price hikes

September 19, 2001

Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl said he's issuing subpoenas for owners of six Leavenworth-area gasoline stations that may have unfairly hiked gasoline prices last week.

"We're asking them to come in and explain why they raised the prices or if there was any justification for it," Kohl said.

Kohl said that just because someone thinks wholesale prices may increase isn't justification for raising prices.

"The raising of the prices has fueled the panic atmosphere and causing gas lines a block long," Kohl said.

The gasoline stations in question were selling at prices ranging from $2.49 per gallon to $2.64, Kohl said.

Fines for gasoline gouging can be stiff.

The court can award damages similar to a punitive award of up to $5,000 per transaction, Kohl said.

"If a gas station had 100 customers, that could be 100 transactions and that could be upwards of half a million dollars," Kohl said.

Kohl said it's his understanding that several of the gasoline stations have offered to give refunds to customers who have receipts.

"But the problem is that in gas transactions you don't always get receipts," Kohl said.

Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye said that on Sept. 11 the sheriff's department received a few complaints about gas prices.

"So we went around, collected some names of stations, got the pump price and the actual sign prices," Nye said. "The ones that were over $1.72 we presented to the county attorney to see if he wanted to pursue it."

"We're asking them to come in and explain why they raised the prices or if there was any justification for it," Kohl said.

Kohl said that just because someone thinks wholesale prices may increase isn't justification for raising prices.

"The raising of the prices has fueled the panic atmosphere and causing gas lines a block long," Kohl said.

The gasoline stations in question were selling at prices ranging from $2.49 per gallon to $2.64, Kohl said.

Fines for gasoline gouging can be stiff.

The court can award damages similar to a punitive award of up to $5,000 per transaction, Kohl said.

"If a gas station had 100 customers, that could be 100 transactions and that could be upwards of half a million dollars," Kohl said.

Kohl said it's his understanding that several of the gasoline stations have offered to give refunds to customers who have receipts.

"But the problem is that in gas transactions you don't always get receipts," Kohl said.

Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye said that on Sept. 11 the sheriff's department received a few complaints about gas prices.

"So we went around, collected some names of stations, got the pump price and the actual sign prices," Nye said. "The ones that were over $1.72 we presented to the county attorney to see if he wanted to pursue it."

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